24 June, 2006

French Resistance
Togo 0 France 2
Switzerland 2 South Korea 0

We reach the last games of the group stage and the big story is that of France trying to save their tournament. Tonight, without the influential play of Zinedine Zidane, they need to beat Togo by two goals to be sure of going through.

France put the pressure on from the beginning. David Trezeguet should do better when he has a clear header in front of goal, but he puts it too close to the keeper. He later has the ball in the net but is clearly offside. Thierry Henry is next to be caught offside, but his shot is wild anyway, and then Trezeguet gives Kossi Agassa another easy save and Franck Ribery puts one over the top.

Meanwhile in Hanover Philippe Senderos has put Switzerland ahead. This is good news for France, who don't want a draw in that match, but they still need to win, whatever the other result.

As in the Switzerland game, the French just can't score. Ribery blasts a long-range one in but Agassa parries it. Trezeguet gets to the rebound but fails to put it away and is offside once again.

The second half starts in much the same vein, with France failing to make the most of the chances they are given. Eventually Patrick Vieira makes the breakthrough on 55 minutes, turning in the box to fire in clinically. Shortly afterwards Henry makes it two and suddenly it all looks good for the French.

Togo aren't out of it and make a few inroads into the French defence, but they too make less of their chances than they could. For the last ten minutes it appears Togo have given up and France don't feel the need to beat them any more heavily. 2-0 is more than enough, thanks to Switzerland, and France make it through.

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