France in Blue or “bleu” if you prefer the French spelling. After a World Cup winning performance in 1998, France went three and out in 2002. Indeed their opening loss to Senegal ranks up there with one of the all-time upsets given how highly regarded they were at the time. Now La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem. It’s hard to pick a favorite line, but “May impure blood water our fields!” is right up there. And of course the whole song is all about being invaded. Write about what you know, I always say.
The Swiss anthem is majestic. It’s about the Alps, fertile pastures, and peace. For those in the know, these anthems are hilarious in their contrast.
Anyway, game time. Unluckily for France’s chances this go round, they lost forward Cisee to injury in their final warm-up game against China. I don’t think anyone is picking them to win it all in 2006, but a healthy Zidane, unlike in 2002, should improve their chances of making a relatively deep run.
Having said that, they still have Bartez in goal and if he’s not the human question mark as a keeper, I don’t know who is. Well, now that I think about Taffarel from Brazil used to be pretty suspect as well.
Henry misses the first of what will probably be many chances in the 5th minute. For whatever reason, he just has a tough time scoring at the World Cup level. Zidane playing well early.
Ref letting a lot go. Not thrilled with his work so far. Zidane fouled hard. No card. Zidane’s free kick gets nothing in the 13th. Long Swiss shot in the 18th. Not bad, really.
In the 23rd minute the Swiss blow a free kick off the bar and the point blank follow-up. French defense looked completely out of sync on that.
France’s puts a good chance high in the 30th. Henry’s shot near post saved in the 32nd. Good game so far. Zidane’s cross easily handled in the 34th.
France wastes a huge chance in the 37th, as the ref misses a handball call in the box. Nice play to beat the defender, but no goal when all is said and done.
Great entry from Zidane wasted in the 38th, as Henry passes it right to the goalie. On frame, I suppose. For all of Henry’s success as a goal scorer at the club level, he’s never really managed the same thing at the World Cup level.
Henry is still down but the Swiss continue to play. Henry comes back in. Swiss with a slight possession advantage, 52 to 48 percent, but I’d actually say that France has the run of play.
Ref gives a yellow to Swiss player for delay. Weak French shot saved in the 44th. Zidane with a pretty play in the 4th. And that’s half-time, 0-0.
Fancy play and good work from Zidane yields nothing at the 49 minute mark. Horrible shot on goal from makable location and distance.
Bartez with a great save. Swiss player missed the header a bit, I think. Riberry aka Scarface subbed out. Yellows coming out now, even Zidane gets one, but God knows why since it’s a French free kick. Henry offsides.
France getting some chances in the final 20 minutes but really they’re severely hampered by the lack of a forward who can score—henry I’m looking in your direction.
Big French shot just wide in the 44th minute. Keeper was beaten. Three minutes injury time. Swiss win a dangerous free kick. Reffing this game has been weak, but that seemed like a good call.
Card to French guy for holding on the kick. Oh, how did the Swiss miss that. Handball to Swiss forward; yellow card.
And that’s the game, 0-0.