Golazo of the Day
Needing to win by at least two goals to ensure progress to the second
round, and without a win in the world cup since the final in Paris in
1998, France had been struggling to get a single goal against Togo.
They were too nervous to provide a finish to the great build up play
with chances galore spurned. However once Vieira had opened the
scoring, the French relaxed to provide a goal which was a perfect
example of how a player can make a goal without touching the ball.
Silvestre picks the ball up on the left just inside the Togo half, and
shifts the ball to the right to Vieira who then shifts it further to
the right to Makelele. The quintessential defensive midfielder weighs
up his options and passes back to Vieira who then spreads the ball to
the right wing to Sagnol. The patient holding pattern hasn't advanced
the ball forward but it has given the forwards time to plan their runs.
Ribery on the right wing comes short and collects a pass forward from
Sagnol. As he collects the ball, tightly marked, his team mate
Trezeguet makes the signature move of the goal, and starts to drift
towards the midfield drawing his marker Nimombe with him.
Ribery returns the ball to Sagnol which is the signal for Trezeguet and
his partner in the dance Nimombe to drop even deeper, leaving a large
hole at the centre of the Togolese defence. Patrick Vieira spots this
and rushes to fill it with relish. Sagnol sees his captain and chips a
right footed pass over Trezeguet into the recently departed space where
Vieira climbs to beat Abalo and backheads the ball to Theirry Henry who
is side on to Tchangai on the penalty spot. Henry controls the ball
brilliantly out of his feet taking him away from his marker and slides
a right footed shot into the bottom left corner, sending the keeper the
wrong way. Golazo and it's time to open a bottle of Chateauneuf du
Hero of the Day
After a very inconsistent season for his new club Juventus, and
outshone by a 19 year old Fabregas in the Champions League quarter
finals, many assumed Patrick Vieira best days were long gone. But a
great champion doesn't forget the battles he's fought and the wars he's
won. On his 30th birthday and taking over the captaincy from the
suspended Zidane, Vieira was immense against Togo when all about him
his colleagues suffered. Ribery, Trezeguet and Henry all missed
glorious chances many brought about by Vieira's unstinting work in
midfield, his calmness on the ball and his driving runs forward. It
took the old man to show them all how it was done with the first French
Malouda picks up the ball in midfield after Trezeguet is tackled, and
drifts to the right drawing two Togolese midfielders before cutting
back to the left and sliding a pass forward to Ribery who is unmarked
centrally 35 metres out. Ribery runs with the ball at his feet towards
the goal but is overtaken by the voracious Vieira who runs past him
straight into the box. As Ribery approaches the penalty area he draws
out Tchangai and beats him with a shimmy to the left get into the box.
The young Marseille winger slides the ball inside to Vieira who is
marked closely by Abalo 10 metres out level with the lefthand post.
Vieria controls the ball to with his right instep, running it behind
him through his legs, allowing him to spin away from his marker and
curl a right footed shot into the right corner on the net. A great goal
the icing on a great performance.
Villain of the Day
Tunisia's Adel Chedli enters the Hall of Infamy today. With Anatoliy
Tymoschuk prone on the ground after making a tackle, Chedli stamped on
the inside of the Ukrainian's right knee. Fortunately Tymoschuk was ok
to continue, unfortunately the referee missed the ***.