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Savouring the WC as their last

Soccer legends Zidane, Figo and Thuram plan to 'call it a day' in style tomorrow as the three plan to retire from international football soon after WC.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2006 21:03 IST
Agencies

Three soccer legends lead their teams onto the pitch tomorrow looking for a last shot at glory.

France's Zinedine Zidane and Lilian Thuram along with Portugal's Luis Figo are retiring from international soccer after the tournament, and they want their teams to set them up for a big career finish by winning their semifinal encounter in Munich. For Zidane, and Thuram who started their soccer careers together the tournament targets to end it together.

For Zidane and Figo,the two former world players of the year, who were once teammates at Real Madrid, it's a crunch game. The winner goes to Berlin for Sunday's final. The loser goes to Stuttgart to play for third place.

Both veterans go into the semifinal on top form despite their age. Zidane is 34, Figo 33.

Some star players -- Brazil's Ronaldinho, Argentina's Lionel Messi, and England's Wayne Rooney, to name a few -- have already gone home, but the pair who came out of retirement for the World Cup are leading their countries' charge toward the trophy.

Portuguese defender Miguel, who is 26, said he has been taken aback by the way Zidane and Figo have been playing.

Zidane "is still one of the best in the world. His ball skills are unequaled," Miguel said. "When he came into form, France started winning. I just hope he has a quiet game against us."

Miguel said Figo has been the revelation of the tournament.

"It's marvelous that at the age of 33 he can still run around that much and play so well.

Meanwhile, French defender Lilian Thuram has also confirmed his retirement from international football at the end of this World Cup.

France face Portugal Wednesday for a place in the final against either Germany or Italy and the 34-year-old says once his team has finished its odyssey in Germany, he will be calling it a day with the international team.

"At the moment, I am savouring this World Cup. I am having fun because it's the last. But it's best for all I should stop at my age," he said on July 3, 2006.

Thuram made his debut in 1994 along with Zinedine Zidane and is the oldest player to line out for France at a World Cup final.

The Juventus defender initially retired from international football at Euro 2004 after France's quarterfinal loss to eventual winners Greece.

But he returned to the fold a year later along with Zidane and Claude Makelele as France struggled to qualify for Germany.

Thuram is France's most capped player and will make his 120th appearance for Les Blues against Portugal.