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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Final advert for Serie A
French celebrations
Will France be celebrating on Sunday?
A France-Italy final is certainly a good advert for the Italian Serie A and should bring about plenty of rivalries on the pitch.

While every member of the Italian squad plays in their own domestic league, 11 of the French either have played or currently are playing in Italy, with another two having recently agreed moves to Serie A clubs.

Italian coach Dino Zoff acknowledges this fact but at the same time respects the French for the quality they have created themsleves.

"I don't know if it's fair to say they've improved just because they've been playing in our league," said Zoff.

Different proposition
Dino Zoff
Zoff recognises the individual strength of the French

"Zidane, Deschamps, Thuram, Blanc - they were already good players before they arrived in Italy.

"But yes, it's true that our championship is one of the most difficult and maybe they have learned something from us."

And Zoff believes that the French will be a different proposition than the Dutch.

"France are perhaps less of a collective force than the Dutch but maybe technically, physically and as individuals they're stronger," he said.

As a footballing nation it is clear that the French have a great deal of respect for the Italians, but it still seems that they would have preferred to have met the more free-flowing Dutch in the final.

Roger Lemerre
Lemerre believes his side are still improving


Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit admitted: "Everyone has been dreaming of a France-Netherlands final since France beat Brazil in the World Cup."

"It's a shame not to face the Netherlands in the final. I don't like to lose so I would have liked some revenge for our defeat at the Arena."

And Petit is sure that the Italians will be fired up to try and avenge their defeat by France on penalties at the last World Cup.

"The Italians will be very motivated," he added.

Encouraging future

French coach Roger Lemerre remains confident though that his side will be able to succeed where Holland failed and live up to their billing as favourites.

"I am lucky to have a remarkable generation of players who all know expectations are high and who always give their best to achieve their goal, which is victory. It's not over yet but so far they have done exactly what they had to."

Blessed with a mixture of experience and developing young talent in his side Lemerre believes the French can continue to set the standard on the international arena.

"There is something happening in this team which is very encouraging, not only for the outcome of this tournament but also looking forward to the 2002 World Cup."

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Italy through on penalties
30 Jun 00 | Sportstalk
Who will win Euro 2000?
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