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Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK banner
Les Bleus: 1-0 up
Zidane - blue is the colour
Zidane - blue is the colour
By BBC Sport Online's Pete Lansley

Les Bleus of France have won the first battle over the Italian Azzuri by being allowed to wear blue in Sunday night's Euro 2000 final.

The tournament schedule, drawn up 18 months ago, means that France enter the game as the 'home' team and will therefore be allocated the home dressing room in De Kuip, Feyenoord's stadium.

It was agreed between the two teams that France would play in blue

UEFA spokesman

But the decision over who should wear their traditional blue sparked long and, according to local press sources, heated debate.

UEFA met with representatives of both countries and on Saturday the two teams finally came to the conclusion that France could play in their blue shirts but switch to blue shorts and red socks. Italy will change to all white.

Graham Turner, a UEFA spokesman, said: "The tournament schedule dictated that France end up as the home team. But it was agreed between the two teams that France would play in blue."

Problems

According to French press men, this has left the world champions still less than happy. But at least that is the extent of their problems.

"We will be happy to make history by becoming the first World Champions to win the European Championship," said Lemerre at Saturday evening's press conference at De Kuip.

"Germany won the World Cup in 1974 and made it to the Euro final two years later but lost to Czechoslavakia. So this would mean a lot to me.


Zidane: Magic player
Zidane: Magic player
"Of course there has been pressure for me taking over a side which has just won the World Cup. But as a trainer it is your target to make the team play better and better.

" I was amazed all the players could carry on from the World Cup and the biggest pressure has come from the media, nothing else.

"It's been a successful tournament, a lot of goals and France has confirmed after the world championships that they can cope with that pressure.

"Beating Italy and Brazil in the latter stages of France '98 boosted confidence greatly and I am delighted the national team has become so popular at home. There were 16 million tv viewers for the last game.

"Zinedine Zidane is a magic player when he has the ball. He is the best in the world for me: his dexterity, his acceleration when he gets the ball and his morale are all exceptional.

"When he scored that delayed penalty against Portugal, he showed he has nerves of steel."

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See also:

01 Jul 00 | Fans Guide
Forza Italia!
29 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
Standing tall in the Low Countries
29 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
Dignity in defeat?
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