Zinedine Zidane showed England how to beat Ricardo from 12 yards and fired France into the World Cup final - it just needed a couple of steps and a firm right-footer inside the post.
Easy, and the French are off to Berlin to play Italy on Sunday.
Zidane, super-cool as always, converted the 33rd-minute penalty after Ricardo
Carvalho had fouled Thierry Henry.
Ricardo, hero of the quarter-final shoot-out with saves from Frank Lampard,
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, went the right way but could not reach.
Zidane, at 34, showcased his incredible talent in the first-half. There are
few players in the world who caress a football with such grace an beauty.
He flagged in the second-half but FIFA will be thrilled to have a living
legend in Sunday's final.
At the final whistle Zizou and Henry embraced. The two biggest egos in the
team, who were supposed to be feuding at the start of the tournament, may give
this French team one last hurrah.
Zidane's moments of magic were often overshadowed in Munich by the obvious
ill-feeling between the two teams.
The dark arts of diving, play-acting and intimidating the officials were all
Surprisingly there were only two bookings but the one for Louis Saha, two
minutes after coming on for Henry, will rule him out of the final. Carvalho,
booked for a foul on Sylvain Wiltord, would have been suspended for the final
but will now be suspended for the third-place play-off.
There is a history of bad blood between the teams, rooted in the Euro 2000
semi-final when France won with a golden-goal penalty - also scored by Zidane.
The goal six years ago sparked an ugly brawl on the pitch and Portugal players
surrounded the referee. The Portuguese FA were fined £73,000 and three players
- Nuno Gomes, Abel Xavier and Paulo Bento - were banned for a total of nearly
William Gallas, never afraid to speak his mind, warned of Portuguese
gamesmanship before the semi-final.
Wayne Rooney would probably echo his thoughts after Cristiano Ronaldo antics
in the quarter-final.
Ronaldo's first touch in Munich's Allianz Arena was greeted with a deafening
chorus of whistles and jeers.
Whether or not it was the work of England fans who had tickets for this game
in hope, it seemed to inspire him.
The Manchester United winger produced some twinkle-toed skills to torture
right-back Willy Sagnol but the other side of his game was never far away.
Raymond Domenech went wild when Ronaldo tumbled tamely under a Patrick Vieira
challenge under the noses of the French bench. Domenech threw his arms in the
air, made a diving gesture and then produced the dreaded imaginary card.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari responded angrily and began shouting at the
France coach from his own technical area.
The mood on the touchline got worse when Henry went over for the penalty, two
Carvalho slipped as he tried to win the ball and Henry took advantage of his
flailing leg, by going over after contact. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda
pointed to the spot.
Scolari erupted again, this time turning his fury on fourth official Mark
Shield and pointing to a TV camera to suggest a close look at the replay.
Zidane made it look easy from the spot, tucking the ball inside Ricardo's
Ronaldo produced another elaborate dive in a bid to win a penalty, eight
minutes before the break.
He threw himself to the turf as he jostled with Sagnol for position under
cross from Luis Figo.
Between the tantrums there were outbreaks of brilliant football, played at a
France could have been ahead in 38 seconds. Miguel lost track of Florent
Malouda and the Lyon midfielder was through on goal as he collected a long
Malouda pulled his shot across the face of goal but it set the tone for an
Fabien Barthez saved from Deco and Maniche fired just over after a neat
backheel by Ronaldo - all in the first 10 minutes.
Henry almost squeezed a shot under Ricardo in the opening moments of the
second half and the Portugal keeper made a flying save from Franck Ribery.
Pauleta rifled a shot into the side-netting before making way for Simao
Sabrosa in the second-half.
Figo missed a glorious chance to equalise, 12 minutes from time, when Barthez
made a hash of a driven free-kick from Ronaldo. The keeper patted the ball up
into the air straight to Figo in front of goal but the Portugal captain headed
the chance over from six yards.
Scolari's team piled pressure on in the closing minutes.
France wobbled but were not beaten and set up a repeat of the Euro 2000 final
against the Italians.