ON THIS DAY: France beats Brazil at 2006 World Cup
On July 1 in World Cup history: Thierry Henry scores winner as France surprises Brazil in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2006.
Following a dismal defense of its World Cup crown four years earlier, few gave France much of a chance in 2006 even though coach Raymond Domenech convinced Zinedine Zidane to come out of international retirement to rejoin the squad. France started the tournament slowly and needed to win its last group game against Togo to qualify for the round of 16. Once it accomplished that, without the suspended Zidane, France rediscovered the sort of form that made it the world's best team at the turn of the millennium. After dispatching Spain in the round of 16, France faced off against Brazil, the team it overwhelmed in the final in 1998. Even so, Brazil was the favorite with its potent attack of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka. However, France dominated the game and Henry's goal following a Zidane free kick was enough to see France through to the last four where it beat Portugal. Zidane would be better remembered for his headbutt in the final, which Italy won on penalties.