“Our little team of oldies are still in
there”: That’s how French coach Raymond Domenech described his team’s 3-1 win over Spain
overnight to earn their place in the World Cup quarter finals. He was referring
primarily to Zinedine Zidane’s starring role. The 34-year-old, who is
retiring at the end of the tournament, scored a late goal to put the result
beyond doubt. Zidane was joined in the list of best players by Patrick Vieira,
a veteran of French football who played alongside Zidane in France’s
1998 World Cup victory and the 2000 European Championship. France
will play Brazil
in the next round, who accounted for Ghana
with a comfortable 3-0 win. While the match marked the end of Ghana’s
World Cup debut, it will more likely be remembered as the match in which
Ronaldo placed himself on top of the all-time World Cup goal scorers’ list. In
the fifth minute, he slotted home his 15th World Cup goal, taking him past
Gerard Mueller’s record.
The Poo back on the
winner’s list: No, you’re not seeing things. After a dismal two years Mark
Philippoussis may be climbing out of the grave. After being granted a wildcard
into Wimbledon, the dual grand slam finalist took out 32nd seed Paul-Henri Mathieu 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-6 (14-12) to
progress to the second round. Some are attributing the win to his new
coach, Peter McNamara, who also doubles as his old coach. McNamara was by
Philippoussis’ side as a junior, but also in 2003 when he reached the Wimbledon
final. The win might have taken six match points and three and a half hours,
and lead him directly into the path of Max Mirnyi, ranked 157 ranking higher
than the Scud, but is the kind of win he needs to revive his flagging career.
In other good news, Alicia Molik notched up a straight sets win in her first
round match against Yung-Jan Chan (7-5 6-1).
Federer chases down record: As matches go, Roger Federer’s opening round game at Wimbledon
against Frenchman Richard Gasquet went according to plan – straight sets win,
with a delay due to rain. But it was also Federer’s 42nd straight win on grass
which takes him past Bjorn Borg’s record of 41 achieved between 1976-1981.
It’s a good omen for the reigning champ, with his arch rival Rafael Nadal
notching up a new record for consecutive wins on clay at the recent French Open
before going on to win the tournament. Despite Nadal’s impressive recent record
against Federer (he’s won their last four encounters), Federer remains a firm
favourite to take out his 4th straight Wimbledon title, but still has a little
work left to catch up with Americans Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, who each
won the Wimbledon men’s crown seven times.