The bane of the England football team in major tournaments the penalty shootout did for us yet again and we lost to Portugal. Was the loss of Rooney who got sent off for what seemed a quite vicious stamp on an opponents groin the deciding factor in the match?
Who can really say but I’m sure it will be much discussed in the days to come. Down to ten men England upped their performance and held Portugal at bay and though the real chances were few both teams looked like they could score. But it was not to be and the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo repeated his performance from two years agao and made the crucial saves in the penalty shootout.
I hope Portugal go on to win as it is slightly less crushing in retrospect to go out to the eventual winners but I think that the winner might just prove to be the resurgent force that is France.
A great match, much better than the England-Portugal one, saw the favourites Brazil put out by a French team that most people thought were over the hill. Perhaps they have secretly discovered the fountain of youth because they were back to their best form in their previous match against Spain after spending years in a state of relative mediocrity and they kept that form up here against Brazil.
It’s not as if they have replaced their aging stars with new young talent like Argentina, this team still features the players such as Zidane and Barthez the world champions of 1998 and the laughing stock of 2002.
This will be the first time since 1982 that we’ve had all European semi-finals with neither Brazil nor Argentina making it to that stage here. I think that we will probably see a final between the hosts Germany and the comeback kings of France.