France stuns England at Euro 2004

Posted: Monday, June 14, 2004

LISBON, Portugal Defending champion France surged back in stunning fashion with two goals by Zinedine Zidane during second-half injury time to beat England 2-1 Sunday at the European Championship.

David Beckham set up England's lone goal but he missed a penalty kick in the 72nd minute before a sellout crowd of 65,000 at the Stadium of Light.

Zidane then scored on a 23-yard free kick and then a penalty kick to deny England in the first-high profile game of the three-week tournament.

The French, undefeated in 19 straight games, are in first place in Group B after Croatia and Switzerland played to a 0-0 tie earlier in Leiria.

''We battled for 89 minutes to win the game and fought really well,'' said Beckham, who blamed himself for the botched penalty kick.

Frank Lampard scored on a 38th-minute header off Beckham's free kick to give England a 1-0 lead. Lampard drove home the near-post header to the left of French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez. It was the first goal given up by France in 1,078 minutes 12 games.

England missed a chance to make it 2-0 after Wayne Rooney capping a 40-yard run was pulled down in the box by Mikael Silvestre. But Barthez guessed correctly and dived right to stop Beckham's penalty kick.

''Fair play to Fabien,'' Beckham said.

Zidane, the hero for France in the 1998 World Cup final win over Brazil, sailed in the free kick in the first minute of injury time to jolt a stadium filled mostly with English fans. In the third minute of injury time, Thierry Henry was tripped in the box as goalkeeper David James came out to stop his run. Zidane put the ball into the net as James dived to his left and the ball went into the other corner.

Santini punched the air and sank to his knees in relief, and French players hugged each other wildly.

''We have to overcome this very quickly and start again,'' England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said.

There were few secrets between these teams. Seven of the French starters played last season in the Premier League, and 10 of England's starters also played there.

The England-France game presented a security challenge because of England's notoriously unruly fans. On opening day Saturday, nine England fans were detained because of violence, police said Sunday. But the British police officer helping authorities said security forces limited disturbances.

Before the game, English and French fans took over the streets and squares of central Lisbon, kicking soccer balls, singing and chanting. The French were vastly outnumbered by the English, who draped flags on statues, bus shelters and cafe windows.

The only outburst occurred at Rossio Square, where a group of England fans tried to burn a French flag.



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