Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Petit Boost for England

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Petit Boost for England

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

IF Sven-Goran Eriksson can put England's World Cup crusade back on track, then there is every chance the meeting with Germany late in the qualifying programme will be crucial in deciding who secures automatic qualification for next year's Finals.

And two influential figures in the all-conquering French team believe England can secure their place in Japan and South Korea ahead of the Germans, who would then, in all probability, be condemned to the playoffs.

Arsenal's Robert Pires and Emmanuel Petit, who left Arsenal for Barcelona last summer, helped guide the World and European champions to a 1-0 victory last night that was more emphatic than the scoreline suggests.

Admittedly, it took a flash of brilliance from midfield genius Zinedine Zidane to separate the teams, but there was certainly little of that traditional Teutonic resolve and arrogance on show at the Stade de France.

It was also remarkable to hear a German manager - Rudi Voller - declare the French had been shown too much respect by a team that were once the most feared in Europe.

When England visited Paris last September, France were stretched to the limit. Petit indeed scored the goal that somewhat fortunately put France ahead before Michael Owen came on to grab a deserved equaliser. …

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