Football: Euro 2000 - CZECHS FALL TO KING HENRY; Top Gun Thierry Books World Champions a Place in Quarter-Finals - Czech Republic 1 France 2

By Maddock, David | The Mirror (London, England), June 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

Football: Euro 2000 - CZECHS FALL TO KING HENRY; Top Gun Thierry Books World Champions a Place in Quarter-Finals - Czech Republic 1 France 2


Maddock, David, The Mirror (London, England)


TOP Gunner Thierry Henry carried world champions France into the last eight of Euro 2000 last night.

The Arsenal striker, who just can't stop scoring, netted the French opener and created a second for Youri Djorkaeff as France wrecked the title dreams of Euro 96 finalists Czech Republic.

Henry was made favourite by bookies to win the Golden Boot - and in his current form it's going to stop a red-hot striker to thwart him.

Henry spread terror in the Czech defence every time he got the ball and it took him only six minutes to grab his second goal of the tournament.

A horrendous error from Czech defender Petr Gabriel - a real sledgehammer of a blow for the underdogs - put Henry clear 30 yards out and he raced through to prod the ball under the dive of Pavel Srnicek.

It was cruel luck for the Czechs, so unfortunate to be beaten by Holland in their opening group game, because they had carved out two golden chances in the opening five minutes with Pavel Nedved and Jan Koller both going close.

It is a cruel world, that of football, with little natural justice. How is it, for instance, that probably the three best teams in the tournament could find themselves in the same group?

It meant, of course, that one of France, Holland or the Czech Republic would be sneaking the hotel towels into their suitcases and heading back home after the first stage.

The smart gilders were always on the Czechs to take the tumble at the first hurdle, and the smart gilders were proven right.

But they didn't go down without a fight.

Henry's goal sparked the French into life. Star man Zinedane Zidane, in particular, suddenly woke up and realised he had to work to lose his man marker.

He did it well, dragging poor Radek Bejbl around like a small poodle, trailing him like a fashion accessory but always three or four paces behind. Zidane placed a brilliant ball through to Henry who should have scored a second but shot the wrong side of the post.

France had more opportunities with Emmanuel Petit heading across goal, and Henry, unusually for him, wasting another decent shooting opportunity, and that spurred on the battling Czechs. …

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