2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

9 June - 9 July

2006 FIFA World Cup™

Solid Swiss and anxious France advance

Any review of Group G must start with a rock-solid Switzerland team who were unique in being the only team not to concede a goal in the first round.

While the Swiss took top spot, France finally vanquished their demons by beating Korea Republic to second place. As for Togo, Togo , they impressed in patches and produced a generally commendable showing given the internal wrangling that disturbed their preparations off the pitch.

Switzerland's prize for reaching the Round of 16 is a meeting with Ukraine in Cologne on 26 June while France take on Spain in Hanover 24 hours later.

Putting pragmatism first

Playing at their first FIFA World Cup™ since 1994, Kobi Kuhn's young Swiss side offered the perfect statement of intent in their first match by holding France to a goalless draw. They then beat Togo before claiming a convincing 2-0 win over Korea Republic to win the group, thereby equalling the achievement of the generation of '94.

Still traumatised by their failure four years ago, France found themselves in the same position as in 2002 when they went into their final group fixture needing to win by two clear goals. Draws with Switzerland and Korea Republic left them in third place prior to the showdown with Togo but despite the absence of the suspended Zinedine Zidane, Raymond Domenech's men successfully exorcised their Asian ghosts by claming the required victory.

Koreans fall at final hurdle

In what was their sixth consecutive FIFA World Cup finals, Korea Republic slipped up in their last match against the Swiss, having previously taken four points from Togo (2-1) and France (1-1). Coach Dick Advocaat, whose team featured seven players from the Korean championship, finished the match with five forwards on the pitch as the 2002 semi-finalists demonstrated a dashing brand of football which, with more experience, could reap greater reward in the future.

Togo, meanwhile, discovered the unforgiving nature of a final phase, where the slightest error rarely goes unpunished. But the conquerors of Senegal in the African Zone qualifying competition wore their love of the game on their sleeves, despite only adding one goal to the tally of 22 they scored on the road to Germany 2006

Best match: Togo 0-2 France

Already eliminated from the tournament, Togo had nothing to fear from this game, whereas France, without the suspended Zinédine Zidane, were playing double or quits for their future. Those factors could easily have produced a highly tense and taut affair, but in the end, due in no small part to a Togolese team determined to take the game to their illustrious opponents, the stadium thrilled to a spectacular match in which the two sides traded attacking blows.

France captain Patrick Vieira celebrated his 30th birthday by opening the scoring, before Thierry Henry lashed home the goal that secured qualification. This was the first time since their triumph over Brazil in the 1998 Final that France had found the back of the net twice in a FIFA World Cup game.

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