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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Were Italy and France worthy finalists?

As co-hosts Holland bowed out of Euro 2000 on penalties, a sea of Orange in the Amsterdam Arena was turned into a tidal wave of tears.

But have the Dutch only got themselves to blame after missing two penalties in normal time and another three in the penalty shoot-out with Italy?

France v Holland was many fans' dream final. Did France and Italy produce a fitting finale, or was it just another turgid clash of steel against style?

Sunday's final in Rotterdam provided some exciting moments as France came from behind to win, but was it really the final that everyone wanted?

Italy failed to prevent France adding the European title to their World Cup crown, but did Euro 2000 have the right final?


Italy rightfully won the match against Holland, so why not play in the final? They're a very good team and surely deserve to play! If Italy can defend a team like Holland with ten men and if they miss two penalties who are the better team? ITALY...without a doubt!
Stefania, England/Italy

Of course , France are worthy finalists ! We are the champions once again ! We may be lucky but we deserved our victory . France are number one , which is undeniable . We are the best !!!
Jeff .L, France

The semi finals were so close that it shows anyone of the four teams would have been deserving of a place in the final.
Rachel, England



Italy have played good football. It's not attractive to watch but it works. They deserve to be in the final

Bob, England
There is wide spread admiration in Holland for the Italian team. They are a disciplined team and made the most of their limited resources, hitting the opposition where it hurt most. France and Italy are worthy finalists, because they have been consistently professional and often entertaining.
Jan, Holland

The Holland v France final would have been the icing on the cake for such a good tournament. If you are an Italian fan you will look for reasons to justify that your team deserves to be there. The same thing applies to the French who have been lucky again.
Arnaud Nombro, England

Goals count at the end of the day. Italy emerged as finalists but if the truth be told Holland was the better side and would have given spectators the best of finals against France.
Kufah Kahuni, South Africa

I have heard precious few comments concerning France's own highly fortunate presence in the final. They should have lost to Spain, and could very well have lost to Portugal as well. France have been lucky in Euro 2000 just as they were in '98, when they faced a disheartened Brazilian side after scraping through some of their previous matches either on penalties or extra time. Consequently I think the French team is vastly overrated. Dream final? Portugal v. Holland.
Rumpelle S, Luxembourg

What a fantastic tournament we have been blessed with. An abundance in goals, excitement, colour and flair. Anybody who even dares utter a solitary negative word on Italy's display against the Dutch is not a true football supporter.

This is my dream final. Italy have done superbly and deserve to be there. Forza Italia

Sheiba Lal, Tanzania
The Azzurri's spectacular defensive and tactical display should be appreciated. It was a demonstration of sheer grit and determination. Had Holland been worthy of making the final, then a spot kick, or 100 minutes against a depleted side surely wouldn't have been beyond their grasp. Italy are a team of talented, skilful, and determined men who have won the World Cup three times.
Robert Galati, Sydney, Australia.

The Dutch have the greatest team in the world, and certainly when playing well are the most beautiful to watch. It is devastating that Italy have won but ultimately inevitable. Once more the Dutch have cracked under the pressure of victory dangling before them.
Arthur, England

Italy and France have both the stars and the experience required to be the real finalists. The final will be a treat for the world of football. The promise and the dazzling display of Zidane will be remembered for many years. I will watch the match with the thought that Soccer is the winner, no matter which country takes the cup.
Karma, US

Why is the media so negative against the Italian side? They play good defensive football and the fact remains that they beat an extremely good Dutch side with only ten men. Good luck to both teams on Sunday - it's been a fantastic tournament.
Robin Howard, England

Italy didn't defend well, they conceded two penalties in one game for goodness sake. If Holland had scored just once from their many chances, they would have been in the final. I can't remember seeing Italy as outplayed as that since the 1970 World Cup final. As for this final, I just cannot see Italy scoring against France.
Matt, England.

There is no such thing as a 'Right Final'. Sport is as much about attitude and character as it is about talent. The Italians have shown us what can happen if only we believe in ourselves. Their focus and fighting spirit puts them miles ahead of any other team in that department.

I only wish the semi-finals weren't both decided by penalties.

Ong Hong Ying, Singapore
And what's more, they have shown the world that 'defence' is a sublime art in itself. They are masters of this craft. The so-called purists ought to be hailing the Azzuri's show, rather than griping from the comfort of their couches.
Balaji Ramanujam, India

This is quite a perfect pairing and promises an enthralling final. We will be anxiously waiting to see how the rock-solid Italian defence will fair against the likes of slippery Anelka, Henry and Wiltord.
Blessed Katiyo Zimbabwe

This final is not going to be a disappointment. Skill v. resilience, flair v. strength. One side has the better midfielders and forwards, and the other the best defence - what else could you ask for?
Rohit, USA

They certainly are worthy finalists. Although the French are a lot more worthy than Italy, I salute the ruggedness and tenacity of the Italian footballers. The Dutch did not deserve to win the match against the Italy, especially after frittering away two good penalty chances. Between the two sides, France rates better in my books.
Rotimi Mebude, Canada

In my opinion, the dream final of Euro 2000 is lost with Italy going through. I don't think the final will be exciting due to the defensive tactics of the Italians. We will wait and hope that Italy change their performance and produce a quality of football to entertain on a par with the French. I wish both teams the best of luck.
Omar Al-Saleh, Saudi Arabia

Jealousy leads to failure and conflict. Everyone ignores the fact that Italy was down to 10 men for 100 minutes and facing a hostile crowd. Give them credit for what they were able to accomplish and stop being so negative. Skill can be appreciated on both the offensive side and the defensive side.
Claudio Mannarino, Canada

What a turnaround. After an abundance of goals against Yugoslavia, the Dutch self-destructed. A lot of credit goes to the gritty Italians. The French are the favourites but this is not over until the final whistle.
E Reyes, Australia

I'm very surprised about the reaction of international press after the Italy - Holland match. What we saw was the brain against the arrogance of a team that had decided to be the champions. Italians are guests in another country and showed an incredible demonstration of character and cool efficiency. Italy lost the World Cup to Brazil after penalties and nobody said anything. We opened the door in the same way to France, nobody said anything. Now we get what we deserve and the North European press say we stole the final. Italy deserves to play the final and get revenge against the French.
Stefano Maselli, Italy



The French probably deserve to be there, but a lucky God was looking down on them.

T. D. Waldron, England
Italy seemed to be playing for penalties the whole game, and were lucky to reach the final. The French probably deserve to be there, but again a lucky God was looking down on them.
T. D. Waldron, England

This final will end up being a stage for Zidane's fancy footwork ... and Totti's classic theatrical diving. Not the dream final, but who wants to watch a UEFA-endorsed final anyway? The simple fact is that the Dutch team gave themselves to ridicule, while the Italians held out for 90 minutes with 10 men. Mediocre teams do not achieve such feats.
Ama Okafor, England

Had any other country come through with ten men for over 90 minutes we would be praising them for years to come. Italy played the only way one should play when a man down. They are undefeated and have consistently produced great players, both defensively and offensively.
Onorio, Canada

This is the right final. Whatever Holland's mistakes,

It may or may not be an exciting final, but at least it's too close to predict.

Todd Anthony, USA/UK
credit 10-man Italy with the greatest defensive performance in recent memory. While their attacking flair was understandably absent, they are technically outstanding and as capable of spectacular goals as anyone. It may or may not be an exciting final, but at least it's too close to predict.
Todd Anthony, USA/UK

There is always something to spoil a party and Italy have done it to this one. Their spoiling, suffocating tactics will make the final a turn-off and produce a massive anti-climax to what has been a fantastic tournament.
Dean Moriarty, England

Holland deserved better than this. A wonderful side full of flair and attacking style beat themselves, eclipsing all other past Dutch football failures. Little credit should be given to the boring and defensive minded Italians. Holland vs Portugal would have been a dream final.
JR Lauterbach, USA

What is everyone's problem with Italy? A man down after just over half an hour against Holland,

Why Italy play such a negative side, knowing it will kill the game is beyond my comprehension. It's a sports crime

Martin Beckers, England
surely it would have been suicide to do anything other than defend. Italy were playing to qualify - why should we hold it against them? I wouldn't be surprised to see them beat the French on Sunday. If only they had a decent centre forward to finish off chances they would be formidable. Personally, I think that their defence is better than the French, very organised and very committed, if not spectacular.
Geraint, Wales

No doubt we have the right final. The Italians have done everything right up to now. Economic football so to speak, not spectacular but what have the spectacular football displays of Portugal and Holland reaped? Italy is the only unbeaten team of the tournament and I think that in the final they will also provide a spectacle but France are a great side. I describe this final as perfect and a 50-50 one.
Joe Scicluna, Malta

What a disgrace for a team with the talent of Italy to play in such a cowardly and unsportsman-like manner. A hollow victory indeed if their old defensive smothering tactics spoil the final as much as they spoilt this semi-final.
Mark Parish, USA

When will commentators and pundits alike stop being so anti-Italian. If that had been England, there would have been respect for carving out a result. With such high stakes teams are there to win, not especially to entertain. I respect totally what the Italians did with 10 men. If the Dutch in front of their own fans, with all their "skill and finesse" couldn't beat 10 men who were never given a chance, then this is the right result.
Vera Baxter, England

Why Italy play such a negative side, with such attacking skill available to them, knowing it will kill the game as a spectacle, is beyond my comprehension.

The Italians have done everything right up to now. Economic football so to speak, but what have the spectacular displays of Portugal and Holland reaped?


Joe Scicluna, Malta
It's a sports crime. I can understand Norway doing it - they have no option. There are millions of parents desperate to enthuse their kids over football, to get them to go out and play, and draw them away from TV and computer games. Every two years there is a golden opportunity to demonstrate what an exciting game football can be. Italy is killing this opportunity The best alternative to the penalty shout out I have ever heard is to make the number of corners count in case of a draw. It would then be too risky to play negatively.
Martin Beckers, England

After criticising Italy for their reliance upon defensive qualities (which are clearly better than any other side in the world at, at the moment) the commentators and football writers in England feel they have been robbed because the unexciting Italian squad has made it this far. We do have the right final because by virtue of skill, resilience, talent and some fortune we have the two best countries in the final. If England had been in the semi-final against Holland and played as Italy did and got the result that Italy did, tell me now that the English press would not be saying that the English had battled bravely for around 90 minutes with ten men against a superb host nation packed with talent and managed to come through with victory.
Peter, England

The right final is between the teams that win the semi-finals. If Holland can't score at home, during 120 minutes, against 10 men and with two penalties, they only have themselves to blame... Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the art of defending. Kevin Keegan take note.
Aldo, Italy

Could someone, anybody, please put an end to this travesty of football called the penalty shoot out? Italy's qualification to the final over Holland has been an insult to all intelligent fans of the beautiful game. France against Holland would have been the final to end all finals.
Dimitris, Greece

Absolutely. What better teams signify Europe than Italy and France. Viva Italia!!!!
Richard G. Monteverde, USA

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Italy through on penalties BBC Sport >>
29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Holland v Italy clockwatch BBC Sport >>
28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Zidane sends France through BBC Sport >>
29 Jun 00 | Holland
Rijkaard quits after semi-final loss BBC Sport >>
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