Ah, France. The French might have won the whole business two World Cups ago, but right now, they're looking like they could be in serious trouble. They need a win here, obviously, and then they have to either win convincingly or hope the Switzerland-Korea game doesn't end up in a draw. That's what happens when you come in with two draws; you put yourself in a tough spot. And we all know how well France handles tough spots. (Sorry.)
Your live blogger's name is Nick Bromberg, an amiable chap (unless you happen to like the Kansas Jayhawks). He'll be typing at you the rest of the afternoon, so drop him a line in the comments and Viva La Togo!
2-0 France is the final. They outshot Togo 17-8 and dominated the game in all aspects. It could have definitely been worse, if not for a few miscues after beautiful passes. I hope you all enjoyed my coverage, as I had a lot of fun doing this. France advances to take on Spain, setting up a very intriguing matchup and, as Dave O'Brien wants you to know, Zidane is going to be back.
89: Togo's best chance of the match is a cross that doesn't get near anyone.
86: Togo has essentially given up. No real offensive effort from them. There's no sense of urgency, but at the same time they don't really have anything to play for.
Now Marcelo is complimenting Jorge. I will agree, after a rocky first half, Jorge was nonexistent in the second, and that's the way it should be.
I think Dave O'Brien has a hard on for Zidane. Yes we know he is out. Get over it.
81: Diarra in for Viera.
80: Offsides by a step. Trezeguet had a break going, but was just offside.
79: Viera gets hit on the head and they bring out the ice and the stretcher. thankfully he walks off on his own. Getting taken off on a stretcher and then running back on five minutes later is so ridiculous.
77: Govou in for Ribery.
75: Cross from Silvestre to Trezeguet who send it wide. Dossevi in for Adebayor. Trezeguet has been silent in the second half while Henry has picked it up a little.
74: Malouda is subbed out for France.
72: Agassa picks off a long cross from Ribery. He's been the lone bright spot for Togo. They have had no offensive pressure on Barthez.
70: Heck of a chance for the French but Agassa is able to kick out a lacksadaisical cross.
68: I take back what I was saying earlier, as France keeps pushing the pace. Now they settle back in. If the chances are there, they're not shying away from them.
68: Agassa comes out and kicks the ball away from Trezeguet.
67: Ribery drills a hard cross, but too hard and it skips out.
66: Looks like France is going to pull back a bit now that they have the cushion. It's going to be up to Togo to push the pace and create a couple of scoring chances.
If I understand it correctly. No matter what happens in the other game and as long as France keeps the 2-0 lead. The French are in the next round.
France does seem fairly content to keep pressing and GOAL FRANCE!!!!!! Nice long cross to Henry, who just had one defender on him, and fired a shot across his body and Agassa was helpless. Great assist from Viera, who headed the longball to Henry. (minute 60)
58: Henry attempts a sliding shot from a longball and misses. Might have been partially deflected by Agassa. Henry would have been much better off on his feet.
We'll see if France stays on the attack; or shoves everyone back and plays defensive for the rest of the game.
55: GOAL FRANCE!!!!!!!! Ribery with some nice moves from just inside the goal box, fires a short groundcross to Viera who twirls and fires a rocket into the top right corner. Agassa had no chance. 1-0 France.
53: Great heel pass from Henry leads to a cross to Ribery who had just 7 yards to goal, and wound up kicking it 10 feet over the crossbar. How many times can France give away point blank looks?
51: Shot by Togo sent wide.
50: France is controlling the ball in the Togo zone again, but just like the first half, they can't get anything substantial. Henry really hasn't had any good chances. They've all been from Trezeguet.
45: Togo kicks to start the second half and promptly loses possession once they get inside the French zone.
HALFTIME: Togo is definitely outmatched, but they're busting ass all over the place. Gotta give them credit. They're not playing like they're out of the World Cup. If Agassa wasn't having the game of his life though, it could be 2-0. (And some help on a couple of iffy offsides.)
Cross by Malouda a shade too high and skips out past the goal line. It was actually touched by a Togo defender, corner ensues that once again was snared by Agassa.
One minute of stoppage time.
45: Corner by Malouda easily snared by Agassa. No real chance.
44: Caution! Mamam with a yellow card. Three cards already in the first half. Jorge is not slowing down for anyone.
43: Cross by France sent way too wide. Henry didn't really have a chance.
Is anything more annoying than "If the scores hold up...." There's 50 minutes of soccer left Dave. Come on! A lot can happen and will.
39: HOLY TOLEDO! Shot deflected by Agassa, Trezeguet shoots again, Agassa trips over the ball and has the presence of mind to cover it up before it sneaks across the line! Trezeguet needed to go two feet to the left, he had plenty of net to work with.
38: Henry with a great chance again that's deflected up in the air and Togo clears and begins a fast break. Henry and Trezeguet have really been noticeable in this match. Ribery has also been involved a lot.
37: Caution! Yellow on Azuowanou for a tackle on Viera. (at least I can spell that right.)
This just in Dave O'Brien and Marcelo Balboa are worse than a Hawk Harrelson-Tim McCarver announcing duo would be.
35: Offside on Henry. He was all alone with just one defender coming at an angle from 20 yards away. Could have and probably would have been a goal or at least a very good chance. Once again, it was a very close call. Marcelo says no. Therefore it must not have been offsides.
33: Trezeguet stopped by Agassa. Agassa was sprawled out on the ground but Trezeguet had no chance to get the ball in the air over his head due to the cluster around the goal.
32: Trezeguet goes head over heels over Agassa. Corner for France which is batted out but France retains possession.
30: Jorge reaches into his pocket for the first time, and it's a yellow. Makelele with a late tackle. If Marcelo doesn't like it, it must not have been a cardable offense.
28: Ribery with a great great chance and tried to hit the Mediterreanean. Bad shot. (I called him Marie earlier, I apologize. These names are killing me)
28: Barthez with a shaky save.
28: After a Togo possession on the France side of the field (shocking!) France goes on the fast break, but Agassa snatches the cross out of the air.
26: Makelele attempts to do the Togoan Samba with a Togo player. That's a foul. I've been meaning to ask is a person from Togo a Togon? Togoan?
25: Corner by France. after about two attempts, finally cleared out by Togo.
24: Henry with a chance, but can't control the pass.
And as I just typed that, awesome chance for France but Trezeguet literally whiffs on the shot, and sends a slow dribbler right to Agassa. Should be 1-0.
21: Cross from Silvestre to Trezeguet; headed, but an easy save for Agassa. I am actually shocked that France hasn't scored by now.
Marcelo went off on a rant against Larrionda, then seemed to give him a backhanded compliment. Dumbass.
On that note, our Mr. Belding for the afternoon (I can't believe I forgot to mention this already) is Jorge Larrionda. I'm surprised there haven't been any red cards. Agassa should be out of this game. Those saves were red cardable.
O'Brien says that Henry doesn't need Trezeguet but Trezeguet needs Henry. So basically Trezeguet is AC Slater to Henry's Zack Morris.
17: Too much dribbling by Ribery. Made about 7 cuts. If he would have tried to thread a cross through, I think he would have had a much better chance.
16: Quick shot by Henry goes horribly wide. Resembled much more of a cross than an actual shot. he was almost at point blank range.
15: Our first nomination for an oscar goes to Kader Toure. He's fine. He cried, they gave him a bottle, and now he's back playing.
15: Nice save Agassa on a laser that might have gone wide.
14: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFSIDE! Very close call. Great pass from Henry leading to a cross to Trezeguet who put it in the back of the net while Agassa was complaining about offside. Trezeguet was *maybe* a half step ahead of the defense.
13: Cross to Trezeguet cleared out partially by Togo. France retains possession on the Togo side of midfield.
12: France keeping the pressure on. Togo steals it, bad cross forces a shot on the side of the net.
9: Barthez punches out a cross by Togo. They're finally off of their heels and don't look like a team of fifth graders. Balboa says Barthez is the weak link for France. All I know is that Coupet is the starting goalie in Fifa World Cup 06, so maybe he's right.
8: Togo with some offense of their own. Couldn't make anything of it. 2 on 5 wasn't going to work.
7: Trezeguet already making an impact. Header deflected just over the bar by Agassa. Nice save.
7: Trezeguet tripped up inside the box. No call.
5: France still in Togo's zone. Although they have only had one real chance, it's only a matter of time until France gets one in the back of the net.
The dude in the picture looks like Leon Carosi from Saved By The Bell. Just saying.
3: France is keeping the ball on the attack. Just wide by Trezeguet. You can already tell that France is the better team. Hell, with all of Togo's money drama, maybe the French gave them a tidy sum to fold up......
2: Henry's cross deflected and cleared downfield by Togo.
Agassa, Nibombe, Abalo, Tchangai, Aziawonou, Cherif-Toure, Senaya, Salifou, Forson, Mohamed, Adebayor
Barthez, Gallas, Silvestre, Thuram, Sagnol, Malouda, Makelele, Vieira, Ribery, Trezeguet, Henry
The game is in Cologne. So maybe the French won't smell bad. (Bad joke.) Trezeguet will be joining Henry on the front line to try to ignite the attack. No Zidane because of his two yellows.
(In best Jim Mora voice:) PAINTBALL? We're talking PAINTBALL? Whew. After a few tense minutes, the Worldwide Idiot In Sports finally switched over to the soccer game.