Matchday 11 – Saturday, 22nd June 1996

Anfield, 37,465

FRANCE   (0)   0

NETHERLANDS   (0)   0  

FRANCE: Lama; Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu; Karembeu, Deschamps, Guerin; Zidane, Djorkaeff; Loko (Dugarry)(Pedros)

NETHERLANDS: van der Sar; Reiziger, de Kock, Bogarde; R de Boer, Blind, Witschge (Mulder); Bergkamp (Seedorf); Cruyff (Winter), Kluivert, Cocu


FRANCE: Zidane (scored), Djorkaeff (scored), Lizarazu (scored), Guerin (scored), Blanc (scored)

NETHERLANDS: de Kock (scored), de Boer (scored), Kluivert (scored), Seedorf (xxxxx), Blind (scored)

The Dutch, still smarting from the spanking England gave them, made three changes. With Davids already back home, Hiddink sprung further surprises by dropping Seedorf. Winter and Hoekstra also stepped down to the bench as Kluivert and Cocu had their first starts of the tournament. Anfield was the venue for the play-off match where the Netherlands beat the Republic of Ireland. Kluivert scored both goals. Now Hiddink had finally given in for calls from home to start with him.

France made just one change. PSG striker, Patrice Loko was restored up front, with Dugarry missing out. Aime Jacquet had played this card each game so far.

The Dutch had the first good chance of the game when a Jordi Cruyff corner from the right was swung in towards the far post. Inexplicably, Lama tried to get to a ball so far over his head and as he was floundering, Ronald de Boer headed just wide with the goal at his mercy.

The French then came into the game. Karembeu chipped a ball into Loko who had his back to goal. He expertly turned and shot, under pressure from Bogarde, but it went just wide.

Cocu then fired over when Bergkamp set him up. The game was definitely hotting up. But there were no goals before half time.

In the second period came a moment of luck for the French. A ball played in towards Kluivert in the area and Desailly got there first but appeared to control the ball with his arm. Replays confirmed this, but the referee gave a free-kick just outside the area. The free-kick was played square to Cocu. His shot hit the Blanc’s heel, as he turned his back, and then hit the post and went wide.

Hiddink sent on Seedorf for Bergkamp as Jacquet swapped Dugarry and Loko again. Seedorf then had the best chance of the match for the Dutch. Bogarde played the ball up to Mulder and he held it off and waited for Seedorf’s run from deep. He was through on goal but his shot hit Lama’s foot and went over.

That was it for meaningful chances for the 90 minutes. For the second game in the day, we had extra time and the golden goal format.

In the first period of extra time, France had the best chance. Zidane was involved. Yet to blossom into the global star he later became, under pressure in the area he hooked the ball to his right to set Djorkaeff up. With the goal almost a given, Van der Sar somehow got his body in the way to stop it.

France had another good effort when Pedros’ crossfield pass from left to right fell straight to Djorkaeff. He controlled the ball and fired a volley which was straight at Van der Sar.

Djorkaeff was then involved in another lovely flowing French passing move. He beat several players in a mazy run. Then a one-two with Zidane on the edge of the box saw Bogarde halt his progress by tripping him.

Djorkaeff took the free-kick himself but lifted it just over the bar.

240 minutes of quarter-final football and no goals from open play. We had ourselves the second penalty shootout of the day.

Johan de Kock was the first up for the Netherlands. He hit it straight down the middle. It hit the underside of the bar and bounced in. The Netherlands lead 1-0.

Zinedine Zidane was first to take a kick for the French and he tucked his right into the left-hand corner beyond Van der Sar. 1-1.

Ronald de Boer was next for the Dutch and he placed his in the same corner Zidane had. Lama went the wrong way and the Dutch now lead 2-1.

Djorkaeff was next for France. He chose the opposite corner, and this time Van der Sar went the wrong way. 2-2.

19-year-old Patrick Kluivert was the third taker for the Dutch. He coolly slotted his kick right into the left-hand corner to put the Netherlands 3-2 up. Five kicks, all scored.

Bordeaux’s Bixente Lizarazu was next up. Left-footed he typically chose van der Sar’s left and stuck it right in the corner. 3-3.

Clarence Seedorf, then with Sampdoria, was next for the Dutch. It’s at this stage in any shootout when pressure is ramped up on the kicker. There are numerous things which can put a kicker off a penalty. One is someone walking in front of him, another is having to re-spot the ball. Seedorf had to do the latter and his kick was straight at Lama who was delighted to push it back to him. The Dutch had blinked first. 3-3

PSG’s Vincent Guerin went next for France. He didn’t display any signs of pressure as he hit his to Van der Sar’s right. The Dutch keeper went the right way but Guerin’s kick was higher than he expected. France now lead 4-3.

Danny Blind, the Dutch captain, had to score or they were out. He chose the right of the ‘keeper and also stuck it right in the corner. 4-4.

Laurent Blanc, the 30-year old central defender, was given the opportunity to be a hero for his country.

Edwin van der Sar had been in a shootout for the European Cup Final against Juventus just weeks earlier. He failed to save any of those penalties. Could he keep his country in the competition now?

Blanc chose the ‘keeper’s left, Van der Sar went right. France were through. After the disaster of the 1992 Euros when the French were more than poor, they were now into the semi-finals four years later.

For the Dutch, they’d experience penalty shootout heartbreak for the second Euros running, having lost in the semis to the Danes four year before.

The drama continued.