Wednesday 5 July 2006
Throughout the 2006 World Cup we'll be predicting each day's results - using Pro Evolution Soccer! We'll select the teams and let the game play out the action on its own, before posting a quick match report and the final, PES-predicted score.
2006 World Cup: Day 23
Portugal vs France
With Deco and Costinha back in the Portuguese side, England's quarter final conquerors are dominant from the start, continually getting the ball wide to Ronaldo and Figo in wide areas. The French back line holds firm, though, restricting Portugal to speculative long range efforts - the best coming from Pauleta which is saved by Barthez.
At the other end France gets close with a Zidane free kick that has to be cleared off the line, the near miss seeming to spark the French team into life. Slowly they start to take a grip on the game with slick passing through the midfield. And it's from a typically patient passing move that they take the lead, with Gallas surging forward from the right to send a low cross into the box for Malouda to side foot in.
Above: Malouda does his best teapot impression to send France through to the 2006 World Cup final
In the second half, Portugal up their game in search of an equaliser. They worry the French midfield, denying them space to move the ball, and start to create a series of chances for Pauleta. Unfortunately, the lone striker can't make the most of them, sending a header over the bar from a set-piece and slamming another shot wide from inside the area.
With Portugal pressing forward, gaps are being left at the back and Henry comes close to doubling the French advantage. Released by Zidane, the Arsenal skipper runs clear of the defence but the cross-shot is beaten by the far post as well as the keeper.
But, in the end, the single goal is enough to send France through to the final to meet Italy in a rerun of Euro 2000.
PES predicts: Portugal 0, France 1