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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
France and Italy ready for final test
France and Italy face each other in the Euro 2000 final as they bid to cap a thrilling tournament by winning in Rotterdam.
The world champions start as hot favourites to claim the title, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry hoping to continue their starring roles.
But while France have stylishly swaggered through much of their campaign, the Italians have ground their way through with a series of solid displays built on a rock solid defence.
Holland's defeat in the semi-finals means the classic, open encounter many had anticipated for the final may not materialise but Sunday's match is sure to be compelling.
The game looks set to be a tale of contrasting approaches, with France likely to dominate territorially and Italy looking to strike on the counter.
In their semi-final, France sacrificed Youri Djorkaeff in order to accomodate both Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit in midfield.
But speculation suggests coach Roger Lemerre may on this occasion choose to play with just one striker in favour of a 'christmas tree' formation with Djorkaeff and Zinedine Zidane playing just behind Thierry Henry as he seeks the best way to unlock that stubborn Italian rearguard.
As for the Italians, Demetrio Albertini has recovered from a swollen ankle and will start while Angelo Di Livio is likely to step in for the suspended Gianluca Zambrotta.
Italian press reports also indicate that Alessandro Del Piero will keep his place ahead of Francesco Totti alongside Filippo Inzaghi in attack.
Referring to Italy's negative tactics in beating Holland on penalties, Zoff growled: "It could be a repeat if the match goes the same way.
"For me, victory counts above all else and if we have to do the same against the French, we'll do it."
Certainly, both defences are going to take some breaking down. For Italy's Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro read Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram for France - all defenders playing at the top of their game.
But it is the French, who at least in the tournament so far, have shown far more flair and finesse going forward.
In Zidane and Henry, they possess the terrifying skill and pace that may just help them to Euro 2000 glory.
The world champions are definitely favourites with the bookmakers.
They are quoted at 8/15 with William Hill, who make Italy 11/8 outsiders.
As the designated 'home team', 'les Bleus' will also be wearing their first-choice colours.
Having worn white in their two previous matches, France will wear blue for the final, while the Italians will revert to white for the first time in the competition.
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