ON A DAY when France and Spain meet in a European championship quarter-final, the most influential player in their last competitive fixture celebrates his 40th birthday.
Arguably the greatest footballer of his generation, Zinedine Zidane was born on June 23, 1972, but has been out of the game since hanging up his boots six years ago.
Incredibly, La Roja have never beaten Les Bleus in a competitive match and Zizou made sure of that in Euro 2000 and the 2006 World Cup (his final major tournament) by producing mesmerising displays and finding the back of the net on both occasions.
In the 1984 final, meanwhile, another French No10 Michel Platini squeezed a free-kick under the body of goalkeeper Luis Arconada to take his tally to nine for the competition – a record which still stands today.
The question is… Can Xavi and co end their winless run today?
Here’s footage of those three encounters including Zidane’s individual performance in 2000:
France 2 Spain 0 – Euro ’84, final
YouTube credit: abojewel123
France 2 Spain 1 – Euro 2000, quarter-final
YouTube credit: rifway22
Spain 1 France 3 – World Cup 2006, second round
YouTube credit: polaristin