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Italy 1-1 France (aet)
Sunday, 9 July 2006

Italy win 5-3 on penalties




Italy

M Materazzi 19

1-1
(1-1)
France

Z Zidane 7 (pen)

 
Bookings:

G Zambrotta 5yellow card
 

 
Bookings:

W Sagnol 12yellow card
A Diarra 76yellow card
F Malouda 111yellow card

 

 
Sent off:

Z Zidane 110red card


ITALYFRANCE

Possession

51% 49%

Shots on target

2 7

Shots off target

3 7

Corners

5 7

Fouls

15 24


Italy

  • 01 G Buffon
  • 19 G Zambrotta yellow card
  • 05 F Cannavaro
  • 23 M Materazzi
  • 03 F Grosso
  • 16 M Camoranesi (86 A Del Piero )
  • 21 A Pirlo
  • 08 G Gattuso
  • 20 S Perrotta (61 V Iaquinta )
  • 10 F Totti (61 D De Rossi )
  • 09 L Toni

Subtitutes

  • 14 M Amelia,
  • 17 S Barone,
  • 06 A Barzagli,
  • 04 D De Rossi,
  • 07 A Del Piero,
  • 11 A Gilardino,
  • 15 V Iaquinta,
  • 18 F Inzaghi,
  • 13 A Nesta,
  • 22 M Oddo,
  • 12 A Peruzzi,
  • 02 C Zaccardo

France

  • 16 F Barthez
  • 19 W Sagnol yellow card
  • 15 L Thuram
  • 05 W Gallas
  • 03 E Abidal
  • 22 F Ribery (100 D Trezeguet )
  • 04 P Vieira (56 A Diarra yellow card )
  • 06 C Makelele
  • 10 Z Zidane red card
  • 07 F Malouda yellow card
  • 12 T Henry (107 S Wiltord )

Subtitutes

  • 02 J Boumsong,
  • 21 P Chimbonda,
  • 23 G Coupet,
  • 08 V Dhorasoo,
  • 18 A Diarra,
  • 17 G Givet,
  • 09 S Govou,
  • 01 M Landreau,
  • 13 M Silvestre,
  • 20 D Trezeguet,
  • 11 S Wiltord

Ref: Horacio Marcelo Elizondo
Att: 69000


THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED

By Charlie Henderson

2200 BST: Captain Fabio Cannavaro finally emerges from the blue shirts. The diminutive defender climbs on the plinth that the trophy was on and holds the World Cup aloft. Italy are World Champions for the fourth time. Forza Italia.

2159 BST: Now goalscorer Marco Materazzi puts his giant Italian Tricolore hat on it.

2158 BST: The Italians come forward now and a number of them are touching the gleaming golden trophy before captain Fabio Cannavaro gets a chance to clasp his hands around it. Francesco Totti plants his lips on the prize and lays a smacker on it. Now they're all getting in on the act.

2157 BST: Coach Raymond Domenech is the last Frenchman to come up and collect a medal. Franz Beckenbauer puts it round his neck. Within a flash he takes it off and puts it in his pocket.

"This World Cup has been a good World Cup. For Italy it is the victory of a collective, a squad. The penalties were great, but we were not expecting that sort end. What a sad end for Zinedine Zidane."
Marcel Desailly, BBC Sport TV

"Zinedine Zidane will feel like the loneliest man in the world. He has let himself down big time."
Alan Hansen, BBC Sport TV

2154 BST: It's ceremony time. The referee is booed by those of a French persuasion before their disconsolate players traipse forward to collect a medal that nobody wants.

2151 BST: Think of those holidays on the continent as a kid and your trip down to the disco. That's what these Italian legends of football are doing, dancing all over the place arms and legs going everywhere - Euro pop eat your heart out.

2149 BST: France players mill about on the pitch but do not talk to each other - they just want to get out of here. Claude Makelele is in tears. For Thierry Henry this is his second showpiece final defeat off the season after the Champions League defeat for Arsenal. He still has not scored in a major final.

"It's hard to believe that, some weeks ago, we went to Hanover to watch Italy play Ghana. If you'd have said to me we were watching the world champions, I wouldn't have believed you."
Martin O'Neill, BBC Sport TV

"I am really happy for the Italians, I think they deserved it. But it is hard to express total happiness because of Zidane. He is the symbol of the last generation of football. He scored the early penalty. But he deserved to be sent off. The world of football is very sad."
Leonardo, BBC Sport TV

2143 BST: Fabien Barthez just sits by the goal post in his own little world before being joined by some of the backroom staff who console and cajole him back on to his feet.

2141 BST: One Italian player who does not join in the celebrations immediately is Mauro Camoranesi. He embraces distraught Juventus team-mate David Trezeguet before going off to hook up with his team-mates in their crazy dancing antics at the corner flag.

"I don't think anyone in Italy will sleep tonight. Circus Maximus has erupted and they do not care about the match-fixing scandal. They went through hell but are going crazy and will have the biggest party."
Lesley Ashmall, BBC Five Live Sport, Rome

2140 BST: Palermo full-back Fabio Grosso goes on a winding run of undiluted joy, arms out-stretched before being mobbed by his team-mates. Italy are World Champions.

Italy 5-3 France
Fabio Grosso steps up and scores to win the World Cup.

Italy 4-3 France
Willy Sagnol must bang in it in for France. He scores to keep the shoot-out and tournament alive.

Italy 4-2 France
It's a long run-up for Alessandro Del Piero and the substitute smacks it beyond Fabien Barthez and scores.

Italy 3-2 France
He doesn't look too confident but Eric Abidal slots easily and scores for France.

Italy 3-1 France
Daniele De Rossi goes for power and scores to give Italy a decisive advatage.

Italy 2-1 France
Juventus v Juventus. David Trezeguet sends Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way but he misses as his effort cannons off the bar.

Italy 2-1 France
Defender Marco Materazzi is next to take the long walk forward. He shoots low and to the right and scores.

Italy 1-1 France
It's all square. Sylvain Wiltord places it perfectly, powering his shot into the net and scores with the keeper going the other way.

Italy 1-0 France
The first spot-kick of the night goes to Andrea Pirlo. He takes a short run up, lifts it down the middle with Fabien Barthez diving right and scores.

2134 BST: Goalkeepers Fabien Barthez and Gianluigi Buffon embrace. One of them will become a hero in the space of the next five minutes.

"Mayhem around the stadium as the teams prepare for penalties. France will be missing two who would surely have stepped up for them in Henry and Zidane. There is still a sense of disbelief at Zidane's stupidity. Will his last moments on the international stage be over-shadowed by an act of complete madness?"
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

2130 BST: Here's a quick guide to these teams and how they fare in penalty shoot-outs. Italy have had three and lost all three. France have had three, won two and lost one. Their last World Cup shoot-out was against each other in 1998 in the quarter-finals.

FULL-TIME: As France give it one more go the final whistle brings a shrill end to proceedings. Penalties will decide a World Cup - for the second time. If you need reminding, Italy lost the last time a shoot-out was needed to split the teams in a final in 1994.

120 mins: Sylvain Wiltord races on to a long pass forward on the right. David Trezeguet is in the middle but Wiltord fails to spot his run behind the Italian cover and slides in and blazes over. There will be one more minute before the final is decided by penalties.

119 mins: An adhesive touch from Florent Malouda but his pass to David Trezeguet on the left flank does not live up to what went before.

118 mins: Alessandro Del Piero jinks off the left flank but his reverse pass to the over-lapping Fabio Grosso is over-hit.

116 mins: France continue to push despite being down to 10 men. Every Italian touch is greeted by deafening boos. On the flipside every piece of French possession is cheered wildly.

115 mins: The match is being played out against a backdrop of piercing whistles. French fans have not had the luxury of a replay and are making their feelings known. Former US president Bill Clinton and UN secretary general Kofi Annan are at the ground and we may need them for some full-time diplomacy.

111mins: Zinedine Zindane is the fourth player to be sent off in a World Cup final. That was his last act on a football pitch. Not the best way to bow out - quite literally. Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez takes on the armband.

RATER POLL: 62% of you say that late red card tarnishes Zinedine Zidane's career.

"There was a lot of verbals going on. It takes a lot to upset Zinedine Zidane but he shouldn't have reacted the way he did."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

110 mins: RED CARD
After a lengthy delay and consultation with his linesman referee Horacio Elizondo sends off France captain and talisman Zinedine Zidane. From hero to villain in one moment of lunacy.

109 mins: What's going on here? Zinedine Zidane has lost it. He has headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest. We're not talking about one of those little nudges, it was a full-blooded thump planted right in the defenders chest and was enough to knock him off his feet. The Italians are furious and rightly so.

"France are still on top, and how Zinedine Zidane must have wished he could have guided his header either side of Gianluigi Buffon. The World Cup is going right to the wire and no-one can bet on the winner with confidence. "
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

108 mins: Alou Diarra pounces on the loose ball in space but is soon crowded out by blue shirts.

107 mins: A final change and Thierry Henry goes off for former Arsenal team-mate Sylvain Wiltord. Henry had been struggling with cramp at the change over.

2113 BST: Here we go again. With some of these players out on their legs it is getting painful to watch.

RATER POLL: Goals clearly talk as far as your ratings go, with Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi leading their respective team ratings. But Thierry Henry is racing up the rating order, perhaps a sign that he is about to produce the killer blow?

HALF-TIME EXTRA-TIME: Italy look to be hanging on for penalties but only because they've got nothing left to give. What's for sure is that it is not out of choice - they have never won a World Cup penalty shoot-out.

105 mins: Marco Materazzi and Fabio Cannavaro combine to close out the space for Thierry Henry on the left as he races on to a long pass forward and looks to accelerate into the area.

104 mins: Zinedine Zidane ghosts into the area to meet Willy Sagnol's cross but Gianluigi Buffon gets a firm hand to the ball and palms the header over. A good save from the Italian and he punches the resulting corner clear.

103 mins: It is all France but they cannot find a way through.

101 mins: That is Franck Ribery's last contribution. He makes way for David Trezeguet.

100 mins: Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda exchange passes on the edge of the area with Malouda back-heeling a return pass into Ribery's path. Ribery stabs his effort just wide.

98 mins: Marco Materazzi lunges in to steal the ball off Thierry Henry as he breaks forward.

RATER POLL: France now seem to be your favourites for victory, with 39% of you believing they will win in extra-time and only 25% saying Italy will win in 120 minutes. 20% say France will win on penalties and 20% say Italy on spot kicks.

96 mins: To use some good old-fashioned footballing terminology, Thierry Henry skins Gennaro Gattuso on the left. The Italian looks like a punch-drunk boxer as he goes down and stumbles back on to his feet.

94 mins: Florent Malouda nutmegs Fabio Cannavaro but Gennaro Gattuso comes in to clear up the danger only to take an arm in the mouth. A bit of treatment and he'll be alright.

2055 BST: Zinedine Zindane's gold boot gets the gold Team Zeitgeist ball rolling.

"Two guards stand either side of the World Cup on the touchline - but which captain will get their hands on the sport's biggest trophy? As with every game that enters extra time, the public address system plays "Que Sera Sera." Whatever will be will be? Not sure France or Italy will agree."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

"Italian fans look sick and I don't think they can bear to watch. The police here are watching the game, not the fans."
Lesley Ashmall, BBC Five Live Sport, Rome

"The sun has set on the Champs Elysees and we're trying to follow the match on the world's smallest television. Fans were expecting big screens. I don't know what the police are expecting but there's some riot vans here. It might be a bit of self preservation but I hope France win."
Arlo White, BBC Five Live Sport, Paris

2051 BST: The only French player who takes advantage of the break to sit down is Lilian Thuram. A number of Italians are down and they look the more tired.

"This half has been very interesting. France have done very well considering Italy went in at half-time the better side. They were unfortunate to lose Patrick Vieira and when he came off it was a sad loss for France. It's hard to call the winner."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

"It's difficult to predict. We thought the Italians would come strong in the second half, but France were the better side after the break. For the last 25 minutes it looked destined for extra-time."
Alan Hansen, BBC Sport TV

"Both teams seem petrified of putting men forward and trying to win the game."
Alan Shearer, BBC Sport TV

"Italy are on their last legs. Marcello Lippi has put on subs but they are back-pedalling. Thierry Henry has not got in dangerous positions. France get into the final third but there is no poacher. Raymond Domenench's got to be brave and put David Trezeguet at some time if they are to win in extra-time."
Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live Sport

END OF NORMAL TIME: The closing stages are seen out at walking pace.

90 mins: We're creeping ever closer to extra-time. There will be two more minutes of normal time. Zinedine Zidane looks to ensure there will not be another 30 minutes as he breaks forward, but the ever watchful Gennaro Gattuso closes him down.

89 mins: Andrea Pirlo, in that quarterback role he takes up for club and country, releases a long pass for Luca Toni to run on to but it skips through to Fabien Barthez.

87 mins: Andrea Pirlo heads Zinedine Zidane's corner clear at the near post.

86 mins: Mauro Camoranesi, who has been down to walking pace, is replaced by Alessandro Del Piero. The substitute was the only player from Italy or France listed in the top-five sexiest World Cup players in an online poll of 10,000 women at German website Bunte.T-Online.de. None of the finalists featured in a poll in Dutch magazine Gay Krant.

85 mins: Thierry Henry holds up play on the left with no white shirts in the box. He then turns on the after-burners, ghosts to the byeline and looks to flick the ball to Zinedine Zidane but Marco Materazzi stabs the ball away on the edge of the six-yard box.

"Both sides know the next goal may be the one that wins the World Cup - can they afford to take any chances? France are having more of the attacking play, but Italy are still a threat and maybe Marcello Lippi is keeping Alessandro Del Piero back for the big finale."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

82 mins: Zinedine Zidane is called into action for a free-kick on halfway after Gennaro Gattuso fouls Florent Malouda. He takes it short and France hold onto possession, culminating with a dangerous cross into the box which Gianluca Zambrotta chests out for a corner.

81 mins: Blue-clad French fans erupt as "President Zizou" re-enters the fray after treatment on the sidelines.

80 mins: The two skippers collide under a high ball. Fabio Cannavaro strolls off but Zinedine Zidane requires treatment to his right shoulder.

79 mins: We're closing in on the edgy eighties. Any mistakes now and it is almost certain that your will have lost you country the World Cup.

RATER POLL: The majority of you reckon this game is now a certainty for extra time, with 45% believing the match will be won in extra time and 19% predicting penalties.

77 mins: After a delay as referee Horacio Elizondo forces the wall back the distance, Andrea Pirlo's right-footed free-kick whistles just wide of Fabien Barthez's right post.

76 mins: Substitute Alou Diarra is booked for climbing on Luca Toni and Italy get a free-kick in a central position.

75 mins: It's a free-kick to France on the left after clumsy play by Mauro Camoranesi who gives the ball away and then fouls Eric Abidal in attempting to retrieve it. Nobody gets on the end of Zinedine Zidane's whipped delivery.

73 mins: Luca Toni collects a through ball in the area with his back to goal and Lilian Thuram looming large over his shoulder. The Italian turns and volleys on goal but is adjudged to have controlled the ball with his hand.

72 mins: Florent Malouda fools Fabio Cannavaro not once but twice. His cross to Franck Ribery is blocked and cleared by Fabio Grosso.

70 mins: Fabio Cannavaro clips Franck Ribery wide on the left flank and France will want to test the Italian rearguard. Gianluigi Buffon flaps at Zinedine Zidane's inswinging delivery but gets enough on it to slap it clear.

67 mins: Italy maintain some possession and finally everyone can have a bit of a breather... including yours truly.

65 mins: This time it's France, Florent Malouda firing well wide.

64 mins: Back and forth, back and forth. You know where we're going now. Luca Toni holds off a couple challenges and holds up the ball to shoot on goal. It is blocked.

63 mins: Straight up the other end and Thierry Henry stands up Fabio Cannavaro, works an inch of space on his right foot but Gianluigi Buffon palms away his stinging shot.

62 mins: Against the run of play Italy put the ball in the back of the net and Italian fans are jumping for joy - momentarily. The offside flag goes up as Luca Toni wheels away to celebrate heading in Andrea Pirlo's free-kick.

60 mins: Italy prepare to make a double substitution. Simone Perrotta and Francesco Totti troop off with Vincenzo Iaquinta and Daniele De Rossi coming on.

"Thierry Henry's two brilliant runs early in the second half have injected France with confidence. Suddenly it is Italy looking worried. France are finally getting Florent Malouda and Franck Ribery into the game and it's paying off. Patrick Vieira, however, looks desolate on the bench after his injury. This is a cruel blow to France just as they were finding real rhythm."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

56 mins: Patrick Vieira has pulled a hammy as our dearly-departed Antipodean friends would call it. Alou Diarra comes on, a change that could upset the balance in the middle of the park.

55 mins: This was supposed to be a cautious, cagey match between two cultured teams with claustraphopic defences. Instead it is end-to-end entertainment all the way. Cracking stuff.

54 mins: France are fired up. Florent Malouda races to the byeline but his pull back rolls behind the on-rushing Franck Ribery.

53 mins: France break down the right. Franck Ribery races clear, squares to Zinedine Zidane who plays in Florent Malouda. The Frenchman has a good shout of a second penalty after Gianluca Zambrotta comes in to tackle but France's calls fall on deaf ears.

52 mins: Florent Malouda's pull back is rolled into Thierry Henry on the edge of the area. For some reason he decides not to shoot and is involved in a six-second stand-off with Fabio Cannavaro before the Italian steps in to clear. Cannavaro puts his success down to having sex "whenever I want to, it helps me."

50 mins: Another great run from Thierry Henry down the right this time. He flies past Mauro Camoranesi and then pirouettes round Fabio Gross. Into the area he opts to cross but it is cleared for a corner. Nothing comes from it.

48 mins: Italy work a short corner. Fabio Cannavaro gets on the end of the eventual cross but his header rebounds off his great friend and Juventus team-mate Lilian Thuram. The Frenchman didn't know much about it.

46 mins: What did Thierry Henry have in his half-time cup of tea? He dances through the defence down the left channel but is well marshalled so is unable to open up his body and fire in a truly testing shot.

2004 BST: Les Bleus, or more accurately Les Blancs tonight, get the ball rolling again.

2003 BST: Here comes the old fella Zinedine Zidane for his final half of football. Bear in mind it may not be his final 45 minutes with extra-time a possibility.

2002 BST: The teams are back out, Gianluigi Buffon having come out five minutes before everyone else on his own. Hold that thought, there's only 21 players out there.

"Marcello Lippi will be pretty pleased. It can take a wee while to get into the run of things, particularly when you go behind. Raymond Domenench will be looking at the wide players and their contribution. Italy are looking the stronger."
Martin O'Neill, BBC Sport TV

"Nobody was expecting that type of start. Zinedine Zidane knew Gianluigi Buffon was going to his right so chipped, but it was not a penalty, it was not fair for Italy. Italy have showed they are playing well, but I think the game will go to extra time. I think it will end on the penalties."
Marcel Desailly, BBC Sport TV

"France coach Raymond Domenech's influence on the stronger personalities in his dressing room has been questioned, but now is the time for him to get tough. Italy look the more dangerous side and France ended the first 45 minutes looking worryingly jaded. Time for Domenech to prove who is in charge - meanwhile, the Italian fans are in more buoyant mood than the French."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

"Italy came out of the blocks fast and it surprised France, although they have got more possession in the last 20 minutes. It will be demanding on the legs of the Italians as it's hot here and France need to step their game up. Italy are pressing the ball all over the park."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

"I think Raymond Domenech has got the harder job of the coaches at half-time. He needs to light a fire under some of his players to get them going."
Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport TV

"I would like to see Thierry Henry get on the end of some runs in the second half. He has to stretch Italy, going wide on the left, as Italy have had control of this first-half."
Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live Sport

HALF-TIME: Most people said it would be slow and steady and that goals would be hard to come by. Well, we've had two in an excellent contest as the players go in for the break.

41 mins: A late flag from the linesman and Thierry Henry is offside with Italy playing a high line. For some reason a Mexican Wave is doing the rounds despite this being an absorbing match.

"The sun is setting behind Berlin's Olympiastadion, providing a spectacular backdrop. France coach Raymond Domenech looks more anxious than Marcello Lippi as Italy look the more threatening side. France need to get a stranglehold on this because Italy have taken real encouragement from their equaliser and Andrea Pirlo's set pieces are deadly."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

39 mins: French flutters in defence. Claude Makelele plays an aimless pass which falls to Simone Perrotta. His run on goal is stopped by Willy Sagnol who then gives Luca Toni a sniff of a chance on goal with a weakly hit backpass.

37 mins: France's turn to test Italy at a corner. William Gallas meets Florent Malouda's delivery at the near post but the defender's flicked effort flashes across goal and wide.

RATER POLL: About half of you - 48% to be precise - reckon Italy are going to bag the next goal in this game. 14% are already preparing for penalties and believe we have had all the goals we are going to get at this final.

35 mins: France need to start marking at corners. It's a free header for Toni who hangs in the air to meet Andrea Pirlo's corner only to see it cannon off the crossbar.

33 mins: A break in play as Simone Perrotta receives attention after Franck Ribery accidentally steps on the English-born Italian's foot.

32 mins: Florent Malouda clips a shot in on goal from the edge of the area, but his tame, right-footed effort curls invitingly into Gianluigi' Buffons arms.

30 mins: Gianluca Zambrotta gallops up the right touchline but his progress is checked. He plays the back pass to Fabio Cannavaro as Italy look to build from the back.

28 mins: It's that man Marco Materazzi again. In an identikit of the goal he climbs to meet Andrea Pirlo's outswinging corner from the right but this time Lilian Thuram is on guard to block the header and clear. It was a foul anyway.

26 mins: Zinedine Zidane wastes a free-kick, thumping the ball long and beyond Thierry Henry for a goal-kick. Route one from the great man?

23 mins: France step it up. Thierry Henry accelerates from deep and threads a pass through to the over-lapping Franck Ribery, but his cross is cut out.

"Italy have responded superbly to going behind, showing the character in Marcello Lippi's side. "
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

21 mins: Zinedine Zidane skips past Gennaro Gatusso but it looks laboured and he is tackled by Mauro Camoranesi. Italy are playing with greater pace.

19 mins: That goal means this is the first final since 1986 in which both teams have scored. It's bubbling up nicely.

18 mins GOAL: Italy 1-1 France
Marco Materazzi atones for giving away the penalty. The Ex-Everton man climbs high above Patrick Vieira to meet Andrea Pirlo's corner and power a header beyond Fabein Barthez. The tattooed defender points high to the sky and is mobbed by his team-mates.

14 mins: Italy maintain possession from the corner but there is no end product.

13 mins: Andrea Pirlo whips in a free-kick from the right and Lilian Thuram launches himself at the ball, heading it clear horizontal to the ground.

11 mins: A yellow card for Willy Sagnol for a foul on Fabio Grosso.

9 mins: Willy Sagnol's cross from the right clips Marco Materazzi and spins out for a corner with Gianluigi Buffon scrambling across goal to ensure it is not going in.

8 mins: That was the first goal Italy have conceded from an opponent. The only goal they had conceded before the final was Cristian Zaccardo's own goal against the USA. It also puts to an end Gianluigi Buffon's hopes of eclipsing the record of his compatriot Walter Zenga for minutes without conceding in the finals.

7 mins: GOAL Italy 0-1 France
Zinedine Zidane scores from the spot - but he does his best to miss. The Frenchman opts for the dink, it clips the bar, goes over the line and spins back hitting the bar again and bouncing clear. A heart in your mouth moment for the skipper but he becomes the fourth man to score in two World Cups.

RATER POLL: Mixed feelings on that decision from the Argentine referee. 53% of you believe it was the correct decision.

"I think it was a slight penalty. There's wasn't much contact but there was contact."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

6 mins: Forget that about a slow start. Florent Malouda goes down in the box after being clipped by Marco Materazzi and referee Horacio Elizondo points to the spot.

5 mins: Thierry Henry is waved back on by referee Horacio Elizondo. Maybe it was a bit of a Rod Tidwell - of Jerry Maguire fame - moment for the striker. Elizondo's in action again giving a yellow card to Gianluca Zambrotta for a foul on Patrick Vieira.

4 mins: That's what you call a slow start. Theirry Henry is off the pitch for the time being and we resume.

3 mins: Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is still receiving treatment and is clearly groggy. Raymond Domenech looks concerned. David Trezeguet is warming up on the sidelines.

1 min: Early concern for France. Thierry Henry lies prone in the centre circle after running into Fabio Cannavaro.

2000 BST: We're off. Which team will be adding another star to their kit signifying another world title?

PRE-MATCH BUILD-UP

1858 BST: The World Cup is often portrayed as a huge window sale. If that's the case, this is a fire-sale with six Juventus players on the field. They could go from a World Cup to playing in Serie C as a result of the match-fixing scandal so their will be a host of potential suitors keeping an eye on their performances.

1855 BST: France, in white for the fourth successive game, cannot equal the passion of their rivals when it comes to their turn to have a singalong.

1853 BST: They pan out to line up for the anthems. It is Italy first and the team belt it out - all apart from Argentine-born Mauro Camoranesi.

1852 BST: The players emerge. France are led by Zinedine Zidane in his final match and Italy file out behind Fabio Cannavaro winning his 100th cap. The 22 players walk past the prize on offer - the World Cup.

1848 BST: France got a good luck message from British-born American astronaut Piers Sellers onboard the International Space Station. Closer to home the great and good are gathered in Berlin and the players are in the tunnel. They are not looking at each other.

1846 BST: Italy have not lost for 24 matches, their longest undefeated streak since 1939. France have not lost a competitve match under Raymond Domenech and are on a nine-match unbeaten run.

1843 BST: While the players go through their final rituals deep in the bowels of the Olympiastadion the countdown's continuing on the pitch with music from Shakira, Wycleaf Jean and Toni Braxton.

1841: The good news is that that makes a sequence - second seed, first seed, second seed, first seed. OK, enough of this straw clutching, let's get back to the football - either team could take this with or without the benefits of dubious sporting omens.

1839 BST: Back to Wimbledon and Italy's World Cup victories in 1934, 1938 and 1982 have always coincided with the first and second seeds playing in the men's final. The bad news is while first seed Roger Federer won earlier today it was the second seed who won in 1934 and 1982.

1837 BST: While cycling comes to terms with the findings of Operation Puerta this summer, Italian football is getting to grips with the Moggiopoli corruption trial. When Italy won the title in 1982, like now, they were in the midst of a domestic fixing scandal.

1836 BST: There's another similarity in that the 1998 Tour de France was rocked by a doping scandal just as this year's event has been. For his part, today's winner Sylvain Calzati will actually be pulling for Italy, the land of his father's birth. "A lot of people will be disappointed, but I've chosen my side, and that's it," he said.

1834 BST: Hang on, that's a bit weird. Only two French women have graced a Wimbledon singles final since the World Cup began - Nathalie Tauziat in 1998, who lost to Jana Novotna, and Amelie Mauresmo in 2006. I'll leave you to join the dots.

1832 BST: France's 1998 win on penalties came en route to their only World Cup title to date and tonight they could cap a hat-trick of a different kind. Victory would cap a weekend of sporting success following Amelie Mauresmo's Wimbledon win and Sylvain Calzati's stage success in the Tour de France.

1829 BST: While the overall record is firmly against the French, they have not lost to Italy since 1978 - that's a run of six matches including that Euro final and two World Cup matches in 1986 and 1998. Italy won World Cup matches between the countries in 1938 and 1978.

1828 BST: There are 10 survivors from that 2000 final in Rotterdam. Seven Frenchman and three Italians.

"I had to wear my shirt from 1998. France will need a lot of luck because Italy are a good team and I'm nervous because of the nature of our last win. Tactically they are playing the same and the physical aspect will be the key. The one who can sprint more will win the fight. If Zinedine Zidane can put in the same performance as he did against Brazil then we're in."
Marcel Desailly, BBC Sport TV

1827 BST: While the overall record is firmly against the French, they have not lost to Italy since 1978 - that's a run of six matches including that Euro final and two World Cup matches in 1986 and 1998. Italy won World Cup matches between the countries in 1938 and 1978.

1825 BST: France have won just seven of the head-to-heads, but that figure includes the most recent and significant match between the European neighbours, the Euro 2000 final which they won with a David Trezeguet golden goal after Sylvain Wiltord equalised in the 93rd minute of normal time. That was the 44th goal France have notched against Italy.

1821 BST: These teams have met on 32 occasions. Italy have won 17 of the matches, and scored 75 goals in the process, including six in their first ever international - a 6-2 win at home in May 1910.

"My only fear is that we've got two unbelieveably strong back fours. They've conceded three goals in 12 games between them. But Thierry Henry against Fabio Cannavaro is a contest to savour."
Alan Shearer, BBC Sport TV

1817 BST: France were in suits for their pre-match wander on the pitch but are now in their work clothes warming up on the pitch. Italy arrived and remain in their tracksuits. The World Cup is in place on the touchline with a couple of big old units keeping an eye on it.

1814 BST: And as we're in the mood for handing out gongs how about a dunce's hat for Manchester United striker Louis Saha.
Minutes played in knockout phase: 10
Yellow cards received: 2
Result: Saha misses out on the biggest match of his career

1811 BST: An ingot of gold cast in the shape of a football boot could be a tricky thing to split so best Thierry Henry sets his sights on a World Cup final hat-trick like Sir Geoff Hurst. That's the last gratuitous and unnecessary mention of 1966, but on a more interesting note - debatable I know - if there is no hat-trick in the final, 2006 will be the first-ever World Cup without a treble being scored.

1808 BST: Arsenal striker Thierry Henry needs two goals to share the Golden Shoe for the tournament's leading scorer with Miroslav Klose.

1806 BST: Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira are two of the 10 players in the running for the Golden Ball award, given to the outstanding performer at the tournament. Others on show tonight are Thierry Henry, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Prilo, Gianluca Zambrotta and Gianluigi Buffon.

"The Champs Elysees is close to combusting. From calm and indifference 24 hours ago, Paris has exploded with passion. Car horns are blaring and people are hanging out of windows. It's intoxicating."
Arlo White, BBC Five Live Sport

1802 BST: After their opening match L'Equipe's headline asked "And now what do we do?". The answer was clearly to manufacture a magic potion to help Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira roll back the years and play as if back at their peak after a woeful 12 months of domestic fare.

1759 BST: France's ageing squad has gone from has-beens to potential World Cup heroes and the turning point was the win over Spain. Prior to that 88% of fans polled in L'Equipe said France would not reach the final, but following that victory 90% said France would win. We'll see.

"The stadium is still only half full, but the festivities have begun - and one of the more familiar characters of the World Cup is already in evidence. France are being followed by a Fabien Barthez lookalike, complete with kit. He is in the crowd shaking hands and having his picture taken with French fans. There is a real carnival atmosphere inside this vast sporting theatre."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

1756 BST: This is the first all-European final since 1982 - when Italy won. And whoever wins they will be the oldest World Cup winning squad in the last 40 years.

1751 BST: Raymond Domenech never named an unchanged side before the tournament but the stargazer has clearly seen something in the sky in Germany as he has now stuck with the same XI throughout the knockout phase. Italy also name the same side that beat Germany in the semi-finals.

1748 BST: Like their neighbours in Italy, fans didn't give France much hope in Germany. Coach Raymond Domenech did not cultivate confidence, which is hardly surprising as he is said to select teams on the basis of their star sign - few Leos and no Scorpios, which is why Robert Pires is watching the final with his feet up at home.

1745 BST: Les Bleus came second of an easy group with two draws and a win. Their "prize" was a hard passage through the knockout phase.

  • 2006 World Cup record: P6 W4 D2 L0 F8 A2
    France 0-0 Switzerland; France 1-1 South Korea; Togo 0-2 France; Spain 1-3 France; Brazil 0-1 France; Portugal 0-1 France

    1743 BST: OK, Italy still have an iron-like defence, in which Fabio Cannavaro has been outstanding, but they have wowed with a never-say-die-attitude as exemplified in their extra-time semi-final win over hosts Germany. Prior to the tournament Italians were not enamoured with calcio because of the domestic match-fixing scandal, but success has put that on the back burner... for the time being.

    1740 BST: The long-famed Italian defensive system of catenaccio - yawn - is well and truly a thing of the past. The architect of this change is attack-minded, tactically-astute, cigar-smoking, silver-haired coach Marcello Lippi.

    1737 BST: The Azzurri came top of a hard group with two wins and a draw. Their prize was an easy passage through the knockout phase.

  • 2006 World Cup record: P6 W5 D1 L0 F11 A1
    Italy 2-0 Ghana; Italy 1-1 USA; Czech Republic 0-2 Italy; Italy 1-0 Australia; Italy 3-0 Ukraine; Germany 0-2 Italy (aet)

    1735 BST: So here's "Our Graham" with a quick reminder about how the teams go to the final, and those coaches.

    1733 BST: According to Michel Platini this is "the coaches' World Cup". The French footballing legend said: "I have also called it the World Cup of tactics - 20 years ago it was the players' World Cup. There was more freedom then, whereas now everything is dominated by tactics."

    1730 BST: So then, 63 down and one to go - the big one in Berlin, the 18th World Cup final.

    Italy: Buffon; Zambrotta, Grosso, Cannavaro, Materazzi; Gattuso, Camoranesi, Pirlo, Perrotta; Totti; Toni.

    France: Barthez; Sagnol, Abidal, Thuram, Gallas; Makelele, Vieira, Malouda, Ribery, Zidane; Henry.


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