PARIS: France defended the title they won in 2001 by beating Cameroon, 1-0, in the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup early this morning.
The match as a tight tussle with the decisive blow coming only in extra time after regulation time yielded no goals. And it was the maestro Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, who proved the match-winner with a wonderful finish – swivelling and using his knee to deviate the ball past the Cameroon keeper – after a pass into the box from defender Lillian Thuram.
Cameroon had their chances also but was not able to capitalise. Both sides seemed tentative throughout showing respect for each other. The normally physical Cameroon side was surprisingly passive but showed touches of brilliance to trouble the French. But the host side could not be denied in the end.
Both sides were worthy finalists and a nice gesture came at the end when both sides joined together at the centre circle around a photo of Marc-Vivien Foe, who dies tragically after collapsing during Cameroon’s 1-0 victory over Colombia in the semi-finals.
France had beaten Turkey 3-2 in the other semi-final. Turkey took out third place on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Colombia. Japan was announced after the final as winner of the Fair Play award. Henry won the player of the tournament award and golden shoe for being the top goal scorer with 4 goals.
OFC champions, New Zealand lost all three of its group matches against Japan (0-3), Colombia (1-3) and France (0-5).