BERLIN, July 2 (AFP): The World Cup was reeling in shock Sunday after Brazil were dumped out by a resurgent France team, while England had the familiar taste of defeat in a penalty shootout with Portugal.
France and their inspirational captain Zinedine Zidane crushed the reigning champion's hopes of winning a sixth World Cup, a second-half volley from Thierry Henry in Frankfurt Saturday setting up a semi-final meeting with Portugal Wednesday.
With host nation Germany taking on Italy in the other semi Tuesday, the last four at a World Cup is all-European for the first since 1982.
"We deserve our victory," said Zidane, who at 34 will retire from football after the World Cup.
After a stuttering start to the tournament, he and his ageing teammates have rolled back the years to rediscover the spirit that carried them to glory in the 1998 World Cup on home soil.
"Now we will try and get into the final as we do not want it to end here. It is so wonderful that we want to carry on," Zidane said.
Brazil were puzzled and frustrated that its team, studded with global stars like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka, failed to find the net, or any of their trademark panache.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira admitted he had failed a country who were favourites to retain their crown.
"My duty was to get Brazil into the final and I must admit that I was not expecting this defeat.
"We made some silly mistakes and that cost us."
The Brazilian press was bitterly disappointed.
"Brazil go out of the Cup playing sad football," said the online version of Lance sports daily.
The only dark cloud hanging over France's win was the violence that broke out in Paris as celebrations turned violent on the French capital's renowned Champs-Elysees.
Police fired teargas at bottle-hurling youths and some revellers were injured after being hit by flying bottles.
England meanwhile was plunged into a doom it has experienced so often as its hopes vanished in a penalty shootout, just as they had in five of the last eight tournaments.
The British press shed no tears over the last game of coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's five-year reign, blaming the Swede for a lack of adventurous tactics and poor squad selection which it said snuffed out England's best chance of winning a World Cup since its only triumph in 1966.
"He leaves his post today, taking with him the king's ransom that was his reward for five years of mediocrity," said the News of the World tabloid.
Most commentators said Wayne Rooney provoked his team's exit by getting sent off for standing on the groin of Portuguese player Ricardo Carvalho, but David Beckham limping off with an injury in the second half also hit England's hopes.
Ten men hung on but Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all had spot-kicks saved by Portugal 'keeper Ricardo while Cristiano Ronaldo - a teammate of Rooney at Manchester United - converted the decisive penalty.
Victory was sweet for Portugal's charismatic coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had masterminded victories over England at both the 2002 World Cup, when he was in charge of Brazil, and at Euro 2004 with Portugal.
Meanwhile, Germany was gearing up for a huge party Tuesday when Jurgen Klinsmann's exciting young side will come up against the Italians, whose own success has come against the backdrop of a match-fixing scandal at home.
The Fan Mile in Berlin was being extended to allow up to a million fans to follow the action from Dortmund on big screens.