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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
French silk to overcome Italy's steel
Gerard Houllier talks exclusively to BBC Sport Online as he previews the Euro 2000 Final between France and Italy in Rotterdam.
France and Italy will present vastly contrasting styles in the Euro 2000 Final - but I expect the greater expression of the French to prove the deciding factor.
I think the Italian defensive set up is even better than France's, but I feel the more expressive nature of France, and their all round team strength, means they will be winners.
I expect this to be a very close game. It is tough to pick a winner because Italy are a very good team when it comes to producing results. They have the record to prove it.
Italy have grown up as a team in this tournament. They impressed me with their mental and physical strength against Holland.
There was a suggestion that the Italian camp was unsettled before the tournament, but Dino Zoff has been successful in building a team unit and there have been no signs of this during the last three weeks.
Quality and patience
And Italy have regained their old mentality. They have rediscovered their old determination to give absolutely nothing away.
Italy have, however, shown throughout games that they want to win - and they have carried out their mission.
Italy's midfield may not be the most creative they have ever had, but they have hard workers who press the ball carrier, and win the important challenges.
In attack, Inzaghi and Totti are very dangerous, and it would not be right to suggest that the quality in Italy's team is confined merely to the defensive aspects.
I do feel, however, that there are some key elements in the way the French tournament has unfolded that makes them my choice as winners.
We should also not forget, when talking about the Italy defence, that France have an outstanding defence of their own with players like Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram.
And they also have players with the greater expression, such as Zinedine Zidane in midfield and in attack they have outstanding young players in Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka.
It will be truly fascinating to see how they cope when faced with the Italian defence.
It will be very competitive, very close, and very hard fought. But I feel France may just have the extra edge in freshness and flair that will ensure they win what has been an outstanding tournament.
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