Local commentators and teenage fans say France's Zinedine Zidane has the edge over England's Wayne Rooney to be named the star player of Euro 2004. Both have been key players for their sides in the group stages of the tournament. Four years ago when France won the European Championships, Zidane was the inspiration behind their spectacular achievement. French sports newspaper L'Equipe said watching Zidane was 'like falling in love'. Now at the Euro 2004 championships in Portugal, the prodigiously talented midfielder is in the mood to ignite Gallic passion once again. Zidane's devastating ball skills were on full display against England last week. He kept his nerve to steal victory for his nation with a beautifully taken free-kick and a penalty in the dramatic last moments of the game. Like before, the magician from Marseille was hailed in his homeland. 'Zidane's genius sends France to paradise' read one national headline. Opinion among Hong Kong fans on the Player of the Tournament is mixed, but Zidane's name is one that's mentioned frequently. 'France will win the tournament because of Zidane,' said Howard Wong Ho-wai, a student from South Island School. 'He is a great passer of the ball and has excellent all-round skills.' 'Zidane is a fantastic player, a world-class footballer who won't let you down,' said Santa Gurung, 15, from Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School. But England could have a rival contender for the prestigious award. 'Wayne Rooney is a prodigy. He's amazing,' says former South Island School student Samara Casewell. Rooney is also tipped for glory by the experts at Cable Television, broadcaster of Euro 2004. 'Rooney is young and fit, has pace and a strong scoring sense,' says TV commentator Sammy Lee Wing-kei. 'He is a lethal weapon and my choice for man of the tournament.' Sweden's veteran striker Henrik Larsson is also in great form. 'Larsson contributes a lot to the team and always scores at critical moments,' said Charlene Yeung Yu-ching, a student at Belilios Public School. 'He is exciting to watch and I think he will be the best.' ATV's Euro 2004 commentator Tim Bredbury said Zidane is sure to eclipse them both. 'From what I've seen of him so far, he will be the outstanding player of the competition,' he says. 'Zidane is the perfect role model for any young player to look up to. He is the complete footballer. His awareness of what is going on around him is superb. He has brilliant skills, he can run with the ball, pass it, score fantastic goals, and he has a great temperament.' Bredbury is tipping France to lift the cup on July 4. 'France have so much strength in depth,' he said. 'They've got Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet and players like Louis Saha and Sylvain Wiltord on the bench. Their attacking power is potentially awesome. I can see France winning it.' The preliminary round ends after tonight's matches, and the intensity of the competition will step up a gear with the first of the four quarter-finals tomorrow night in Lisbon.