- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006

HANOVER, Germany — Zinedine Zidane has at least one more match left.

The exquisite playmaker and three-time World Player of the Year scored a goal in the 92nd minute as France beat Spain 3-1 last night in the round of 16 before 43,000. The injury-time goal came just nine minutes after Zidane set up France’s go-ahead goal, sending France to a quarterfinal meeting with Brazil.

“[Zidane] stayed the course for the entire 90 minutes,” French coach Raymond Domenech said. “We know his explosiveness, his play, and you saw it in the last minutes.”

Zidane, who retired from club soccer with Real Madrid last month, will retire after the World Cup. When he went over to take corner kicks in the match, the Spanish fans reminded him that this could have been his last game with chants of “Goodbye Zidane.”

But the 34-year-old son of an Algerian immigrant helped end Spain’s 25-game unbeaten streak.

Zidane, who led his country to the World Cup title in 1998, announced his retirement from international soccer following France’s early exit from Euro 2004. But he came out of retirement to help his struggling countrymen qualify for the World Cup. Now he must captain them against mighty Brazil.

Spain took the lead in the 28th minute, when it won a penalty kick after veteran French defender Lilian Thuram gave Pablo a shove in the back. David Villa converted the kick, sending a low strike to goalie Fabien Barthez’s right.

But France struck with four minutes before the break. Patrick Vieira split two defenders when he played a ball to Frank Ribery. Spain sought an offside call, but the young Marseille star, who appears to be a worthy successor to Zidane, dribbled round Spain keeper Iker Casillas to tie the game and give France its 90th World Cup goal.

France took the lead with seven minutes left. Striker Thierry Henry won a free-kick on the left flank after being pushed by Carlos Puyol’s. Zidane curled the ball to the far place where on its way it took a deflection off a defender, only to reach Vieira at the far post who headed it down just inside the post.

Brazil 3, Ghana 0

DORTMUND, Germany — Brazil ended Ghana’s scrappy World Cup debut with three streaking goals, the first an early flash by Ronaldo that made him the most prolific scorer in tournament history.

Ronaldo got his 15th World Cup goal in the fifth minute — putting him past German Gerd Mueller as the tournament’s all-time leading scorer.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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