Masculins / Mondial 2006

France qualify for last 16

Published on 23 June 2006 at 11:19 PM
France qualified for the last 16 Friday. After a first half dominated by Raymond Domenech's players, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry settled the nerves with two second half strikes.
France certainly had the opportunities to open the scoring after dominating the opening half against Togo, but keeper Agassa kept the underdogs in contention with nine important saves.
Despite their constant pressure, the tricolores had to wait until the 58th minute before Patrick Vieira gave the 1998 champions hope of a place in the next phase with a sublime volley. A pillar in midfield, the captain of France, who were without Zinedine Zidane, celebrated his 30th birthday in perfect style by handing Thierry Henry the opportunity to double the advantage in the 61st minute.
After the game, Patrick Vieira was particularly thankful to Robert Duverne, Lyon’s physical trainer, for getting the Juventus midfielder and the rest of the group in shape.

Despite many efforts, he was unable to notch his third goal with France. A header missed in the 9th minute was followed by a stinging 25m strike saw the Togo keeper take two attempts before controlling the situation. Malouda was substituted in the 73rd minute by team-mate Sylvain Wiltord. “Nino” was quickly accompanied by Sidney Govou who came on in place of Franck Ribéry (77th).

In Hanover, Switzerland duplicated France’s result with a 2-0 defeat of South Korea. Patrick Müller disputed the entire match in the role of central defender. Jacob Kuhn’s team therefore finish top of Group G and will now meet Ukraine on Monday June 26th at 21:00 with a quarter-final berth at stake.

Group G Results:
Switzerland 2-0 South Korea
France 2-0 Togo

Group G Standing:
1. Switzerland 7 points ; 2. France 5 pts ; 3. South Korea 4 pts ; 4. Togo 0 pt.