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Last Updated: Monday July 10 2006 11:59 GMT

Jake's World Cup diary: Day 16

Jake's been out in Germany reporting for Sportsround and Newsround on all the World Cup action.

He's been giving us the low-down on what's happening behind the scenes in his diary.

Here's Jake's 16th and final diary entry.

I'm sending this from Berlin airport. It's now the morning after the final. I have to say, last night was the best football experience of my life.

We've been in Germany for 35 days. All the matches we've seen, all the people we've interviewed and all the shows we've done - all building up to the final and it didn't disappoint.

We spent most of our weekend at the Olympic Stadium which is the most amazing ground I have ever been to.

It was built 70 years ago for the Olympics in 1936 and since then it's hosted some of the biggest sporting events in the world. When you walk around you get a real sense of history, so it was the perfect venue for such an important match.

Presenting Sportsround on Saturday was really surreal. We've been to quite a few grounds on our tour of Germany, but being pitch-side at the World Cup final venue is probably something I'll never do again.

It's definitely something I'll never forget. At every ground we've been to, I've secretly managed to pick a small bit of grass and now I have some from the Olympic Stadium to add to my collection!

We spent Sunday morning soaking up the atmosphere in Berlin which was fantastic. French and Italian fans are not only very loud and colourful but also really friendly which is what the World Cup is all about.

The weird thing was though, when we got to the ground a few hours before kick off, the atmosphere wasn't quite as amazing.

I think the organisers should make sure that more tickets go to the fans from the countries taking part in the final. Although it's great seeing people from all over the world, at times, it was more like being at the opera than at a game of football!

As for the match, I watched it in the press area with hundreds of journalists, all of us keeping our eyes on France captain Zinedine Zidane in his final professional game.

None of us could have predicted what was about to happen. Until extra-time it was a pretty ordinary match, but then it really came to life.

I'm not sure we'll ever know quite what was said to Zidane or why he reacted in that way, and although it was an honour to see him play his last game, it was also sad to see one of the world's greatest ever players sent off in disgrace.

In my opinion, the Italians were second-best on the night, but at the end of the day it's all about keeping your nerve in the penalty shoot-out. They rose to that challenge and therefore deserve the title.

After the match was over I ended up near the team coaches as the players were leaving. I even managed to get Raymond Domenech's autograph - he's the French manager.

I was also just a few feet away from the actual World Cup! Being within touching distance of it was a fitting end to the best five weeks of my life. I hope you've enjoyed it too.


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