Euro 2004 Roundup
Zidane Leads France Past England
Monday, June 14, 2004; Page D04
Defending champion France surged back with two goals by Zinedine Zidane during second-half injury time to beat England, 2-1, yesterday at the European Championship in Lisbon.
The Real Madrid star scored on a 23-yard free kick and then a penalty kick to deny England in this first-round showdown. The victory put France in first place in Group B.
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.
"We battled for 89 minutes to win the game and fought really well," said Beckham, who blamed himself for missing the botched penalty kick.
Frank Lampard scored on a 38th-minute header off Beckham's free kick to give England a 1-0 lead in the first high-profile game of the three-week tournament.
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 down the left side -- 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.
Added French Coach Jacques Santini: "The goalkeeping of Fabien Barthez held France in the game. His penalty save was one of the turning points of the match. A save like that at such a time can only help psychologically."
Zidane sailed in the free kick in the first minute of injury time to jolt a stadium filled mostly with Englishmen. In the third minute, striker 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.
"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 English 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. 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.
• CROATIA 0, SWITZERLAND 0: In Leiria, Portugal, Croatia missed three easy chances and squandered a man advantage for almost half the game as Switzerland survived for a tie in its first-round opener.
Niko Kovac, Josip Simunic and Ivica Olic all missed easy headers with Swiss goalkeeper Joerg Stiel making an acrobatic one-handed save. Olic hit the crossbar from barely three yards.
The Swiss played the last 40 minutes with 10 men after defender Johann Vogel received his second yellow card and was ejected. But the Croatians failed to create any more dangerous chances.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company