Zinedine Zidane played today like it might be his last game. With Zidane retiring after this World Cup, if Les Bleus had lost against Brazil it would indeed have been Zidane’s last game. Instead Zidane produced a masterful display of soccer to lead the French over Brazil 1-0.
France was the better team today. With an ironclad defense led by Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele, Zidane was free to take control of the game from the midfield. Arguably no other man has dominated a World Cup game the way Zidane did today since the days of Diego Maradona. Zidane’s touch, control and ball distribution made the Brazilians look amateurish. Watching the game it was hard to believe that Zidane was playing against perhaps the best players in the world.
Zidane’s free kick to Thierry Henry’s feet at the far post was the icing on this sublime performance. Henry made no mistake in burying the ball at the back of the net.
BBC had this to say about Zidane and the French today:
Zidane was magnificent throughout, while after the interval the speed of Henry and Franck Ribery unsettled the Brazilian defence.
As early as the first minute Brazil were given a glimpse of what they were to experience for the remaining 89 minutes as Zidane glided away from a succession of Brazilian tackles as he executed a quick turn and that trademark stepover.
A Zidane flick that deceived Cafu was equally breathaking, while he held off and teased Kaka by juggling the ball.
Regardless of what happens to France in the two potential games remaining between Zidane and the Cup, his performance on the pitch today will be the stuff of World Cup legend.
Video Updates from YouTube
This is video of play leading up to Zidane’s and Henry’s game winning goal. Watch Zidane get around Ronaldo with a flick of the ball and a header to start the attack. The commentary is in Japanese but you don’t have to speak the language to understand the exciting commentary.
This is a video compilation with English commentary of Zidane’s play throughout the match. As you watch the video, keep in mind that the players in yellow falling all around Zidane are not just ordinary players, they are Brazilians.
This is a very well done video compilation of Zidane’s play in the Brazil and Spain games. The video is set to, of all things, Rod Stewart’s "Young Turks".
This is a short video clip showing Zidane’s burst of speed as he spins away from the Brazilian defense