France beat Switzerland 3-1

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

Thierry Henry scored two late goals to send holders France into the Euro 2004 quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Switzerland on Monday.

France beat Switzerland 3-1

Coimbra:

Striker Thierry Henry scored two late goals to send holders France into the Euro 2004 quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Switzerland on Monday. France struggled to break down the Swiss, whose 18-year-old striker Johann Vonlanthen became the youngest scorer in the tournament's history when he equalised Zinedine Zidane's early goal. France in quartersThe French topped the group by one point from England and will play Greece in the quarterfinals despite failing to convince in any of their three matches. "We have been criticised, sometimes with justification. But the most important thing is to finish first in the group," Henry said. Switzerland now head home with just one point from a 0-0 draw against Croatia after a campaign blighted by the suspension of striker Alexander Frei for spitting.France took the lead after 20 minutes when captain Zidane rose virtually unchallenged at the near post to head in a right flank corner from Robert Pires. It was the playmaker's third goal of the tournament and should have set his side up for a dominant evening. For a spell, the French threatened to add a second, fullback Bixente Lizarazu sending a deflected half-volley wide and Henry wasting a decent chance by heading past the post. He later headed over more glaringly from a measured centre by man-of-the-match Zidane.Ball possessionSwitzerland, fielding five in midfield in a reshaped team, equalised when Vonlanthen latched on to a shrewdly-angled through pass from Ricardo Cabanas and slipped a low diagonal shot beyond Fabien Barthez and inside the far post. It was deserved reward for the Swiss for spells of good, controlled possession football, but they were unable to make it pay, and in the second period France gradually turned the screw. They lacked their normal guile, however, and the Swiss defence had a relatively easy evening until the final 15 minutes when striker Louis Saha was sent on to replace the unimpressive David Trezeguet. Thierry performsSaha's first touch was a flick header that sent Henry clear, and the prolific striker slid a low close-range shot past Joerg Stiel. The goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the net again eight minutes later when Henry embarked on a trademark solo run, cutting in from the left wing before coolly rolling the ball into the net from eight metres to score the 400th goal in the tournament's history. Zidane and French defender Lilian Thuram equalled the European Championship finals record of 13 appearances. (AP)



Topics : Football
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