During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany™, Brazil went head to head with France, and it was a beautiful spectacle. Zidane prominently known as Zizou was the main fascination in that elite game that got the world talking.
The match which was played at the Commerzbank Field, Frankfurt/Main on Saturday, 01 July 2006 pulled in large number of people both at the stadium and at home watching to enjoy and partake in that significant game.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is only couple of days away, and as we count down to the start of the global masterpiece in Qatar on 20th November, let’s grandstand 100 of the best crossroads in FIFA World Cup history.
The quarter-final between Brazil and France, was revolved around one extraodinary player – in the No 10 – Zinedine Zidane.
Clearly, the competition had been billed as Ronaldinho’s. The Brazilian had been crowned FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, and had quite recently won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona and seemed to be at the pinnacle of his thrilling powers.
Zinedine Zidane, on the other hand, was on the way out – and seemingly on the slide. The 34-year-old had suggested as much himself three months before, in announcing that he would retire after the World Cup.
“I cannot carry on for another year,” he had said. “It’s been three years since we (Madrid) won anything, and in two of those, I’ve not played as I’ve wanted. I am not going to play any better than I have done in the past.”
The French press concurred, and there were a lot of intellectuals who contended that Zidane ought to be dropped; and that he was at the time not equipped for influencing games as he once had. However, when France opened their campaign in sub-par style, drawing 0-0 against Switzerland and afterward 1-1 with Korea Republic, those pundits’ got more furious.
Infact, even after France made it through the group phase, and Zidane went on to score in their 3-1 Round of 16 win over Spain, no-one anticipated the masterclass that would follow in Frankfurt.
Many still consider that quarter-final performance the greatest of Zizou’s entire career, with the assist he provided for Thierry Henry’s match-winning goal surrounded by several dazzling moments of skill and grace.
As the man himself told FIFA:
“There was magic in the air that day out on the pitch.” The about-turn in attitudes was immediate. French newspaper La Provence immediately dubbed Zidane a “master without equal”, adding that “he was more Brazilian than the Brazilians.”
“Zidane made the difference – even more than in 1998,” observed A Seleção’s coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira. “This was probably his best performance in the last eight years.”
“Zidane was the magician in the game,” echoed Pele, an awe-struck onlooker in the Frankfurt stands. “He is a master. Over the past 10 years, there’s been no-one like him. He has been the best player in the world.”