Archive for July 2nd, 2006

Gunners in Germany: Part 7 – Lehmann & Henry the heroes

3 comments July 2nd, 2006

Well, the quarter finals are over and England are out. However, they’re not alone in crashing out of the World Cup: Argentina and Brazil, arguably the two favourites, have joined them. It’s penalties and Portugal again for Sven’s side, though fifth taker Ashley Cole wasn’t required to do his duty: we were already out by then. Theo Walcott was more likely to be filming the game than watching it, most likely with Sol Campbell on commentary. Owen Hargreaves was England’s outstanding performer, and as Arsenal look for some back-up in central midfield, he may have pushed himself back into contention.

On Friday, an Arsenal player had more luck on penalties: Jens Lehmann saving two to be the home nation’s hero. It seems that preparation pays off. Germany are riding on the crest of a wave now, and will be tough opposition for Italy, who’ve had an easy run to the semis. It’s fantastic for Jens to be getting the perfect end to a brilliant season. After the disappointment of the Champions League final, he deserves to end 05/06 on a high such as this one, and possibly with a World Cup Final still to come.

Last night saw Thierry Henry come up against Gilberto Silva as France took on Brazil in a rematch of the 1998 final. It was Henry who came out on top, sidefooting home a beautifully controlled volley to net the winner. Although the defending was appalling, it still took a remarkably cool head to plant the ball in the top of the net in that manner.

Old boy Patrick Vieira was again impressive, whilst potential new-boy Franck Ribery showed just how dangerous his explosive pace can be. But it was Zindedine Zidane who was the real star of the show. In what could have been his last ever game, he pulled out all the stops to deliver an exquisite performance, driving France on to victory against an uninspiring Brazil.

It looks like a Germany-France final to me. At least, I hope so. Portugal-Italy could be unbearably negative.

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