Thierry Henry finally made his mark in a game that matters, scoring the only goal in the 57th minute to lead France into the semifinals of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over defending champion Brazil.
Zinedine Zidane sent a curling free kick to the unmarked Henry, who had the whole right side of the net for his right-footed volley.
France will face Portugal in the semifinals on Wednesday in Munich.
The experienced and savvy French took out the five-time World Cup champions in a match stunning for its one-sidedness. Tacked onto France’s 3-0 victory in the 1998 title match, it’s clear the Brazilians have found a nemesis at the highest level of the sport.
The heroes were familiar. Zidane, headed into retirement after the tournament, scored two goals in the World Cup championship win eight years ago.
Moments after Henry’s goal, with the Brazilians totally flustered, France nearly got a gift own-goal. But the French were so dominant, it might have been unnecessary.
France began the tournament so poorly it appeared another first-round exit, on top of the flop four years ago, was likely. Instead, it has a four-game unbeaten streak against Brazil.
It will be the first all-European final four since 1982.
It was a shocking exit for the pre-tournament favorite, which did not get a shot on goal in the opening half and had huge gaps in the defense all night. Such stars as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Cafu were either invisible or inept.
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