Tuesday, 13th June 2006
France vs Switzerland
France and Switzerland have a long history of playing against each other although the
Swiss have struggled to get the better of the French since 1992; the teams were in the
same UEFA qualifying group and drew both matches, home and away.
Switzerland, playing in white, kicked-off the match in Stuttgart; between two teams who
came through the same qualifying group for the 2006 World Cup Finals.
The two neighbouring countries started with a similar style; making it
difficult to play through the middle and generally cancelling each other out.
France did have a couple of early chances though: Sylvain Wiltord's
cross from the right a little too high for Thierry Henry to header properly; then a little
later, Patrick Vieira miss-hit a chance to volley at the far post when Ricardo Cabanas
rushed towards him.
Switzerland's best early chance came in the 24th minute, when
Tranquillo Barnetta's clever free-kick swung in over everyone in the middle of the penalty
area and landed on the far post with Alexander Frei running in behind the French
defenders. Eric Abidal and Claude Makelele closed Alex Frei down as the Swiss front runner
tried to cue himself up for the rebound.
Franck Ribery had a great time to capitalise on a Swiss mistake in the
37th minute as he ran into the right side of the area unchallenged. Instead of taking the
shot himself, the Olympique Marseille midfielder (maybe suffering from stage fright)
rolled the ball back to Henry. It was a sad pass to the Arsenal striker, who hit Senderos'
hand; penalty appeal turned down.
A minute or two later, Henry ran onto a visionary long-ball from
Zinedine Zidane and instead of shooting or squaring the ball to Patrick Vieira in the
middle, tapped the ball to Pascal Zuberbuhler.
We had to wait 62 minutes before Switzerland earned their first
corner; Abidal flicking the ball off before Alex Frei could get to Barnetta's attempted
Two minutes later, Barthez made a crucial save to keep out substitute
Daniel Gygax' attempt to head the ball at the far post, with the side of his face.
Switzerland's last gasp attempt to snatch victory took a while coming
as the Russian referee tried to stop the jostling in the penalty area before the 93rd
minute free-kick could be taken. When the ball was finally released into the area, Alex
Frei tried to fist it in, á la Maradona; earning himself a yellow card in the process.
It might have been another hot day in Stuttgart but we've seen it all
before with these two teams; another tight match ending in a draw.
France 0 - Switzerland 0
France: (Captain Zinedine Zidane)
16 Fabien Barthez; 3 Eric Abidal, 5 William Gallas, 15 Lilian Thuram,
19 Willy Sagnol; 4 Patrick Vieira, 6 Claude Makelele, 10 Zinedine
Zidane, 22 Franck Ribery; 11 Sylvain Wiltord, 12 Thierry Henry.
Switzerland: (Captain Johann
1 Pascal Zuberbuhler; 3 Ludovic Magnin, 4 Philippe Senderos, 20 Patrick Müller, 23
Philipp Degen; 6 Johann Vogel, 7 Ricardo Cabanas, 8 Raphael Wicky, 16 Tranquillo Barnetta;
9 Alexander Frei, 11 Marco Streller.
Valentin Ivanov (Russia)
57 Mins (Switzerland) - 10 Daniel Gygax on for 11 Marco Streller
69 Mins (France) - 14 Louis Saha on for 22 Franck Ribery
74 Mins (Switzerland) - 2 Johan Djourou on for 20 Patrick Müller
81 Mins (Switzerland) - 5 Xavier Margairaz on for 8 Raphael Wicky
84 Mins (Switzerland) - 8 Vikash Dhorasoo on for 11 Sylvain Wiltord
42 Mins - Ludovic Magnin (Switzerland)
45 Mins - Tranquillo Barnetta (Switzerland)
56 Mins - Philipp Degen (Switzerland)
64 Mins - Eric Abidal (France)
72 Mins - Ricardo Cabanas (Switzerland)
72 Mins - Zinedine Zidane (France)
92 Mins - Willy Sagnol (France)
93 Mins - Alexander Frei (Switzerland)
0 Red Cards.
2006 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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