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World Cup Final, Zidane thinks its Over


philipl
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Yes folks, it is the most eagerly awaited game of the year. The one we all hoped and prayed for, not.

The Krauts are vanquished to play Christina's diving school in the 3rd place play-off (we'll all be watching that one won't we?), SGE and Walcott but a distant memory and South America's (where's that?) finest were no match for the colonial masters. That said the Brits' spin-offs were long gone- only Ghana and Australia surviving to the knock-out where they got knocked-out and America and Trinidad & Tobago proving to be each others' equals.

So Frogs v Wops. Snail's and pasta and not a good time to be a clove of garlic in Berlin tomorrow night.

Far more erudite and better footballers than me will cover column hectares in anticipation so I will just say this.

FRANCE- Bartez left his clown's make-up behind but perhaps he's saving the outsized boots, spinning bow tie and shiny nose for the big top? The defence has been effective and Makelele has rolled back the years in midfield. Ribery went from overblown to downright dangerous in the course of the World Cup and he can always scare the Italians by just looking at them. We haven't yet seen a sublime Henry moment and he's not been as effective as he can be- yet.

ITALY- Buffon looks impregnable, the defence are achieving miracles for such little guys and why did Materazzi let a class of four year olds draw on his arms? What I really admire about the midfield is that when it gets tight, the pace of the pinged passes safe in the knowledge that the recipient will instantly control the ball and ping it on. On that basis the Italians are the most technically gifted team at this World Cup. Up front, all the Italians are dangerous without a single stand-out player.

A lot is made of age and fitness of the two teams but this is the World Cup Final so they'll go the distance. For the football purist, this should be a treat- the ref is a good one (boohoo Rooney) so the game should flow. Whether we will get exciting explosive goal mouth action I doubt as the defensive midfield/defences are just so good.

Which alphabetically leaves us at Z or even better ZZ. Simply the most technically gifted player I've seen in my lifetime and to think if Uncle Jack had carried on spending in the summer of '95....

I'm going for France, for Zinadine Zidane and for a quiet night's sleep in Malta on Sunday night.

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Italy are the unluckiest European side of the last 15 years. They were eliminated in 3 of the last 4 cups by penalties, and 2 of them were by the eventual champions.

France on the other hand have generally had extremely good luck (apart from 2002) in tournaments

I hope Italy wins, but only because i feel the French have already won 2 major tournaments recently and dont really deserve a third. They are not that good.

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For a footballing preview, this one by David Pleat in the Guardian this morning is the best I have read although I disagree with some of his player rating numbers:

http://football.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/...1815722,00.html

I don't agree, he is asking for France to play on the counter attack and try to soak up the Italian offense, if they race to put quick pressure on the Italians, they will get torn apart by the passing game.

I think they need to be more positive and go at the Italians and particulary on the flanks to Zambrotta and Grosso, definately the defensive weak links in the Italian team.

But hey, the closest I have been to a Premiership side is on Champman so what the hell would I know.

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I don't think France will be positive in this one. They have yet to put in a positive performance and I think they will stick to the defensive 4-5-1 and hope to get a goal somehow. They know their limitations and won't try and push it now that it is the big time.

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Can't pick Italy because they are a bunch of cheating, diving @#/?s. Can't pick France because they are a bunch of French people...

Would settle for 0-0, France in the shootout, US the only team to get a goal against Italy (albeit an own goal).

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Should be a great game with both teams having played good football and deserving to be there. As I'm going to be watching it in France I hope they win because it will be a good night if they do. Also hope France win for the sake of Zidane who is still the best around.

On saying that Ialy were fantastic last time and if they play like that again they will win. Also if they do win Clive Tyldsley will be able to say something like "English hands lift the WC after a 40 year absence tonight" because that boy on the left wing was born in Lancashire.

Funny how teams have lost against their bogey teams all through the knock out stages, eg Portugal v England, France v Brazil, Italy v Germany, France v Portugal. This would mean that France will win as they usually beat Italy.

Can't pick Italy because they are a bunch of cheating, diving @#/?s. Can't pick France because they are a bunch of French people...

Good to see that you don't discrimnate between different types of foreigners.

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Can't pick Italy because they are a bunch of cheating, diving @#/?s. Can't pick France because they are a bunch of French people...

Would settle for 0-0, France in the shootout, US the only team to get a goal against Italy (albeit an own goal).

Most of the french team are from Africa aren't they? Isn't Zidane foirm Algeria or somewhere like that? And Vieira is from Senegal.

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That is why Le Pen was moaning about the French team- another reason for wanting a French win.

That's a very good point but I just can't bear to see a side with no world cups only 8 years ago overtake us and have two stars above their cocks. Italy for me.

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Italy for me.

No particular reason except I dislike them less than the French team. Anyone who has Sylvain Wiltord coming off the bench shouldn't be winning a World Cup.

(Cue Eddie to reel off Wiltord's amazing goal record in Ligue 1) :tu:

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Italy for me.

No particular reason except I dislike them less than the French team. Anyone who has Sylvain Wiltord coming off the bench shouldn't be winning a World Cup.

(Cue Eddie to reel off Wiltord's amazing goal record in Ligue 1) :tu:

26 goals in 86 games for France, 101 in 306 in Ligue 1 and 34 in 146 for Arsenal, not bad as an option for 4th choice striker, especially when you consider that many of those appearances, especially for country and Arsenal were as substitute.

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Both teams have done well to get to the final, they certainly didn't start well but have improved as the tournament goes on. There are players on both sides that I'd like to see win the World Cup, Cannavaro and Zambrotta for Italy and Zidane and Thuram for France. I think that Italy are slight favourites to win, but I hope that France win, with Zidane going out on top.

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Most of the french team are from Africa aren't they? Isn't Zidane from Algeria or somewhere like that? And Vieira is from Senegal.

Zidane is from Marseille. His father was 17 when he came to France from Algeria.

My heart says France. My head screams Italy. I'll go with my heart. Don't ask me for a score though.

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I will be very disappointed if Italy doesn't win this, they have been the best team throughout and deserves a win against an, for me, uninspiring French team.

The only reason I can see that could make me want French victory in this match is Zinedine Zidane, but he has won enough in his career anyway - it's a lot more important to me that Francesco Totti get a gold to wrap up his International career. As I have said earlier, I rate him above anyone else in the world in club football, but he has struggled more for Italy. He has been performing better and better throughout this tournament whilst regaining fitness, and even though I expect France to try and take him out of the game with some tough tackles early on, I believe he will stand out and help Italy win this.

Forza Italia!

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Zidane is from Marseille. His father was 17 when he came to France from Algeria.

My heart says France. My head screams Italy. I'll go with my heart. Don't ask me for a score though.

He's Algerian really though. Even tried out for the Algerian under 17's but didn't make the side.

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