After much hype and anticipation, England finally began their quest to be European Champions, against France. Everyone knew it was going to be a tough game, however no-one could have predicted
that England would in effect blow the match in injury time. England took the lead in the 38th minute after Frank Lampard connected with a cross from Beckham. This was the first time France had conceeded a goal in seventeen hours of play. All was looking good as England entered the break with a one goal lead, although France were attacking well, largely through Henry.
Into the second half, Wayne Rooney was fouled in the penalty area by Silvestre and England were subsequently awarded a penalty. Unbelievably for the England team, Barthez saved the resulting spot kick from England's captain. This had been an ideal opportunity for England to extend their lead, and how they would pay later in the game.
As the game moved into stoppage time, Zidane showed exactly why he is the world's greatest player. Emile Heskey committed a foul and France were given a free-kick which Zidane bent into England's net, beating David James. It was a spectacular goal. Then the unbelievable happened, after England had looked to be heading towards victory in regulation time and then were staring at a draw after Zidane's free-kick, James brought down Henry after the Englishman had raced to collect a poor back pass from Gerrard. There was no hesitation from the referee who pointed to the spot, and Zidane made no mistake with his penatly and gave France a last minute 2-1 win.
For a neutral this was a magnificent ending to a great match, but for England it was a heart-breaking loss and they must overcome the disappointment fast as their next game is in four days against Switzerland, a game they must win.
Barthez, Gallas, Thuram, Silvestre (Sagnol 79 mins), Lizarazu, Pires (Wiltord 76 mins), Vieira, Makelele, Zidane, Trezerguet, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Landreau, Bosumsong, Dacourt, Desailly, Govou, Marlet, Pedretti, Rothen, Saha.
James #13, G Neville #2, King #15, Campbell #6, A Cole #3, Beckham #7, Lampard #11, Gerrard #4, Scholes #8 (Hargreaves 76 mins - #18), Rooney #9 (Heskey 76 mins - #21), Owen #10 (Vassell 69 mins - #23).
Subs Not Used: Robinson - #1, Walker #22, Bridge #12, Butt #17, Carragher #16, J Cole #19, Dyer #20, P Neville #14, Terry #5. (Full Squad)
France Goals: Zidane (91 & 93 (pen) mins)
England Goals: Lampard (38 mins)
France Cautions: Pires, Silvestre
England Cautions: Scholes, Lampard, James
Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)