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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Finalists told to keep off pitch
The pitch at Berlin's Olympiastadion
Hertha Berlin play at the Olympiastadion
World Cup finalists Italy and France have been denied the chance to train at Berlin's Olympiastadion before the match because of the pitch's condition.

Heavy rainfall in the city has made conditions heavy and Fifa does not want to run the risk of churning it up.

Neither side have played at the stadium during the tournament and will have to wait until Sunday to get their first taste of the playing conditions.

Both teams will continue to train at their base camps in the meantime.

Fifa spokesman Andreas Herren confirmed the decision had been taken "because of the state of the pitch and because of the heavy rainfall in Berlin over the last couple of days".

Officials will be particularly anxious to avoid a repeat of the 1974 World Cup final eliminator between West Germany and Poland in Frankfurt, where quagmire-like conditions reduced the match to a farce.

The tournament had been plagued by torrential rain but calls to postpone the contest fell on deaf ears because of the tight schedule.

Poland went on to lose the game 1-0 and inevitably blamed the conditions for their downfall.

Both France and Italy are travelling to Berlin from their bases of Hamelin and Duisburg on Saturday.



SEE ALSO
Italy v France
05 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
France-Italy key encounters
07 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006


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