Portugal praise

France aside, Zidane professes to a particular affection for a side who lost in the quarter-finals, saying: "My favourite team were Portugal, but unfortunately they're not in the tournament any more. They were a complete team. They have many good individuals who are very strong technically and they are also strong in defence. It's always important to have good individual

qualities and good forwards, but it's even more important not to concede goals – and Portugal had this potential before the quarter-final against Germany. Of course they played against a very strong Germany side who hadn't done so well in their previous matches, but who played a perfect game against Portugal."

Tough call
Germany will meet Turkey in the semi-final in Basel on Wednesday with Spain taking on Russia in Vienna a day later, yet Zidane remains reluctant to single out a team as likely champions. "Germany are always there for important matches, they're always among the last four and [Michael] Ballack leads his team in a great manner. Russia have proved that they have great quality as a team, especially against the Netherlands. They're physically well prepared and that allowed them to beat the Netherlands – they were a lot fresher in extra time. There are still some really good teams and in such tournaments there are always surprises. I hope they will be great matches. I have no idea who'll win, so my prediction wouldn't be correct anyway."

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