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European Leagues: European Cups: Euro 2000 -- Match 31

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The Final

  • Thur. 29th June: Game 31
    France - Italy
    Rotterdam (18:00)

france.gif (1051 bytes)

Previous Games:
Fra - Den (3-0)
Cze - Fra (1-2)
Fra - Hol (2-3)
Spa - Fra (1-2)
Por - Fra (1-2 in Extra-time)

Game 31

italy.gif (1092 bytes)

Previous Games:
Tur - Ita (1-2)
Ita - Bel (2-0)
Ita - Swe (2-1)
Ita - Rom (2-0)
Ita - Hol (0-0 aet; 3-1 pens)

Match Preview:
Italy came through a tough test of their defensive mettle after they were reduced to ten men, just after the half-hour, during their semi-final match against the co-hosts Holland; when Gianluca Zambrotta received his second yellow card. They were on the ropes for most of the game, but Holland didn't have the knockout punch.

The defensive trio of Cannavaro, Nesta and Iulianio performed heroics to keep the Azzurri in the competition, while Franceso Toldo didn't put a foot wrong in goal. Holland missed two penalties during the game and three in the shoot-out, as their marksmen proved inadequate in front of the target.

Can Italy hold out France too, in the all-blue final?

Unless Thiery Henry scores three for France, then Patrik Kluivert will remain the tournament's leading goalscorer; along with Savo Milosevic, of Yugoslavia.

France look stronger than they did in the World Cup, two years ago, and may believe that they can be the first reigning World Champions to hold the European crown too. Italy will be out to stop them and, if all Italian players stay on the pitch, France could find it hard to add to their goal tally of eleven.

Of course the fans always want to see an exciting game, although some may prefer the result at any any cost.

Will this game go to extra-time and penalties, or can it be decided over 90 minutes?

The crystal ball says Italy could get the result, if they haven't used up all their nervous energy. Then again, France might rise above them at a set-piece and pour on the pressure once they have a goal. Attack is often the best form of defence, and this is the only way forward for France; if Barthez isn't to face penalties at the end of 120 minutes.

In the 1998 Quarter-finals, France got the better of Italy in the shoot-out. I'm sure neither team wants it to come to that in this final.

Don't expect Italy to excite, but they'll sure as hell put up a fight. They don't go down easy, even when they're on the ropes.

Statistics to Date:

goal.gif (309 bytes) -- Goals Scored: red_card.gif (100 bytes)yellow_card.gif (94 bytes) -- Bookings:
France: (11)
Thierry Henry (3)
Youri Djorkaeff (2)
Zinedin Zidane (2)
Laurent Blanc (1)
Christophe Dugarry (1)
David Trezeguet (1)
Sylvain Wiltord (1)
Italy: (8)
Filippo Inzaghi (2)
Francesco Totti (2)
Antonio Conte (1)
Del Piero (1)
Luigi di Biagio (1)
Stefano Fiore (1)
Red Cards: (none)

Yellow Cards: (7)
Desailly (2)
Vieira (2)
Deschamps (1)
Dugarry (1)
Thuram (1)

Red Cards: (1)
Gianluca Zambrotta (1)

Yellow Cards: (9)
Gianluca Zambrotta (3)
Demetri Albertini (2)
Antonio Conte (1)
Luigi Di Biagio (1)
Mark Iuliano (1)
Paolo Maldini (1)

Probable France Team:
16-Fabien Barthez,
15-Lilian Thuram, 5-Laurent Blanc, 8-Marcel Desailly, 3-Bixente Lizarazu,
4-Patrick Vieira, 10-Zinedine Zidane, 17-Emmanuel Petit, 7-Didier Deschamps,
12-Thierry Henry, 9-Nicolas Anelka.

Probable Italy Team:
12-Francesco Toldo,
5-Fabio Cannavaro, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 15-Mark Iuliano,
11-Gianluca Pessotto, 14-Luigi Di Biagio, 4-Demetri Albertini, 3-Paolo Maldini,
18-Stefano Fiore,
9-Filippo Inzaghi, 10-Alessandro del Piero.

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden).

Teams and Match reports to follow.


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