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Ribery Steps Into Zidane's Shoes

  • Guardian, Wednesday, June 4, 2008 12:45 PM
Uncapped before the 2006 World Cup, Franck Ribery has stepped up in just two years to become the heir to Zinedine Zidane, writes David Hytner. After an "explosive" debut season at Bayern Munich, and after winning the German Player of the Year award, the midfielder is carrying the hopes of his country as its "leader and creative spark" into the Euro 2008 tournament beginning Saturday in Switzerland and Austria.
"Self-belief now courses through Ribery and it appears that over-confidence represents the single greatest threat to a France squad which is arguably the strongest in Switzerland and Austria," says Hytner. To prove his point, he goes on to list the players left off the roster, such as David Trezeguet, who scored 20 goals for Juventus this past season.
France is in by far the toughest of the four groups, and must get past Italy, Holland and Romania just to reach the quarterfinals. Nonetheless, coach Raymond Domenech is confident, and believes that his team will meet Germany in the final, the same  pairing he forecast (almost correctly) at the 2006 World Cup.

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