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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Desailly on France

Marcel Desailly
By Marcel Desailly
1998 World Cup winner with France

My friend Zinedine Zidane is about to play the last game of his career in the final of the World Cup. Can you imagine how motivated he will be?

And the rest of the team will be eager to give him the World Cup as a parting gift. It is a great motivation for France.

As in 2002 and 2004, we started the competition slowly and Zidane almost had to end his career in a bad way.

Italy don't really deserve to be in the World Cup final - they have shown only 45 minutes of good football

Marcel Desailly
He was suspended for the final group game against Togo and the team had to win to be sure of progress.

When they did, Zidane realised he had to enjoy the tournament and play in a more relaxed and free way.

And against Spain, there was an explosion. Finally the players were confident, and if players have quality and you add confidence, they can be unstoppable.

I'm a bit disappointed about Italy. They don't really deserve to be in the World Cup final because they have shown only 45 minutes of good football, in the second half of their semi-final against Germany.

But they are there. They've had a lot of problems back home and have stuck together and kept a good rhythm, without being really convincing.

Zinedine Zidane and Raymond Domenech
People also said Zidane was upset with Domenech - it wasn't true

Marcel Desailly
The final is going to be a real battle - a tactical and a physical battle. The two teams have such experience.

My only worry is that Italy will score quickly. If they do, it will be very difficult for France and the game could be killed as a spectacle.

There have been rumours that some of France's senior players, and not coach Raymond Domenech, have been running the team.

Not so. If it was true, Zidane would have his wish of playing behind two strikers as a real playmaker, not as a deep-lying forward.

And Thierry Henry would not accept playing alone up front. He would want to be running off a target man.

Actually, Domenech is holding things together very well. This is a real team and they stuck together when they were having problems.

People also said Zidane was upset with Domenech - but it wasn't true.

Zidane is a champion. Early on he decided he was going to concentrate on his work so he could be at the top of his game.

Then, when he was at the top of his performance, he could talk, smile and be positive again.

And that's exactly what he's done. But people interpreted it in a different way.

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