2006 World Cup Final, Italy verses France
Posted by ssbg on July 8, 2006
Italy defender Alessandro Nesta has been ruled out of the World Cup final in Berlin because of a groin injury.The AC Milan centre-back has missed Italy’s last three matches after aggravating a long-term injury in Italy’s 2-0 win over Czech Republic.
Marco Materazzi continues in defence alongside skipper Fabio Cannavaro.
France’s Zinedine Zidane and Lilian Thuram will play their final games for Les Bleus after confirming their retirement from international football.
Italy (probable): Buffon; Zambrotta, Grosso, Cannavaro, Materazzi; Gattuso, Camoranesi, Pirlo, Perrotta; Totti; Toni.
France (probable): Barthez; Sagnol, Abidal, Thuram, Gallas; Makelele, Vieira, Malouda, Ribery, Zidane; Henry.
Italy’s Nesta has suffered injury setbacks in all three of the World Cups in which he has played – he missed Italy’s second round defeat to South Korea four years ago and was also injured for the quarter-final exit to France in 1998.Former Everton defender Materazzi stood in against Czech Republic and Germany, while Palermo centre-back Andrea Barzagli covered in the quarter-final against Ukraine.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi returns from a four-match ban for elbowing USA forward Brian McBride in the face during the first round, although he isn’t expected to start.
Italy are the designated home team and will sport their familiar home blue colours, while France will play in white for the fourth match in a row.
BIG MATCH STATS
Italy have played France on 32 occasions winning 17, drawing eight and losing seven, outscoring France by 75 goals to 44. This will be the fifth World Cup meeting of the pair. The Squadra Azzurri won 3-1 in the 1938 Quarter-finals and 2-1 in the 1978 Group phase. France’s sole win over Italy came in the 1986 second round (2-0). This was the last time Italy lost a World Cup knockout match within 90 minutes. In the 1998 Quarter-finals France beat the Italians 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw.
The only previous final between Italy and France came at Euro 2000. France won 2-1 through a golden goal by David Trezeguet. Italy led 1-0 until the 90th minute. This match was also the last meeting between the two sides.
Team facts – Italy
Italy have won three World Cups (1934, 1938 and 1982) and one European Championship (1968). They can now become the second nation to win at least four World Cup trophies. Brazil are the only team to have won five World Cup titles.
Italy are unbeaten in 24 international matches, their longest unbeaten streak since 1939. Their 11 goals at the 2006 tournament have been scored by 10 different players. This equals the World Cup record for teams with most different scorers in a single finals. This record was set by France in 1982. If France fail to score, the Italians will equal the record for most successive World Cup clean sheets of five, and become the first nation ever to register six shut-outs in a World Cup campaign.
Team facts – France
The title secured on home soil in 1998 is France’s most successful result in 11 previous appearances at the World Cup finals. They have not lost a World Cup knockout match since the 1986 semi-final against West Germany.
France have conceded only two goals in their six matches at this tournament. South Korea’s Park-Ji-Sung and Spain’s David Villa are the only players to have scored against Les Bleus so far. If they keep a clean sheet and Italy do not, France will equal their own World Cup record of only conceding two goals.
Player facts – Italy
Daniele De Rossi will be eligible to play for Italy in the final, after having served a four match suspension. Gianluca Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro are the only players to have figured in every minute of Italy’s 2006 World Cup campaign.
Captain Fabio Cannavaro is set to collect his 100th cap and become the third Italian player to reach this milestone, joining Paolo Maldini (126) and Dino Zoff (112). Cannavaro made his international debut on 22 January 1997 in a 2-0 friendly victory over Northern Ireland.
Player facts – France
Louis Saha is suspended for the 2006 World Cup final. In 2002 Germany’s Michael Ballack was the last player to be suspended for a World Cup final. Fabien Barthez, William Gallas, Claude Makelele, Willy Sagnol and Lilian Thuram have played every minute of every match for France so far.
Thierry Henry scored his sixth World Cup goal against Brazil, surpassing Platini on the World Cup top scorer list for France. Henry now only trails France’s top scorer Just Fontaine, who netted 13 at the 1958 finals. If goalkeeper Fabien Barthez keeps a clean sheet against Italy he will break the World Cup record for most cleans sheets by a goalkeeper. He now shares this record with Peter Shilton, who kept 10 clean sheets between 1982 and 1990.
Italy have reached the World Cup final every 12 years since 1970. They lost the 1970 final, won in 1982 and lost in 1994. The 2006 World Cup final will be the first since 1978 without Germany or Brazil and the first final since 1938 without Germany or Brazil or the host nation. The 2006 final is also the first all-European World Cup final since 1982 when Italy beat West Germany 3-1.
Juventus is represented by eight players in the squads of Italy and France. Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi and Alessandro Del Piero face their French team mates Liliam Thuram, Patrick Vieira and David Trezeguet.
Big Match Stats source: Infostrada Sports