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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 13:43, July 08, 2006
Who will say 'Auf Wiedersehen' Mark South, UK
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As an England fan, the Italy-France final is one of those games you wish both teams could lose. With that outcome unlikely, I am stuck in a head-versus-heart dilemma. Ideally, Zinedine Zidane would score a hat trick and seal his career with a perfect send-off; in reality, Italy have shown enough skill, determination and, most significantly, luck to suggest it will be they who lift the trophy. Italy 2-1 after extra time.

Yang Xinwei, China

France hold a mental advantage with their come-behind victory over Italy in the 2000 Euro final. That makes them a favourite for the title because it would be hard to overturn past fortunes in Sunday's final considering Italy's semi-final win over Germany, to whom they never lost in Cup history, and France's triumph over Brazil, who fell to the same rivals after a humiliating defeat in 1998 final. France will lift their second World Cup in eight years only if they can keep the game to 90 minutes because their 30-something line-up could not withstand the depth of a more robust Italian team. As for a score, 2-1 for France in 90 minutes, but a reversed score for Italy if it goes into extra time.

Christina Siderius, USA

There was only one worst-case scenario for the final two teams left standing at the World Cup: France and Italy. As I detest both teams equally, picking a winner seems more like choosing the lesser of two very sinister evils. The Italians are epic sissies who take advantage of any nudge to fall on the ground theatrically. And there's that match-fixing naughtiness looming over their nation. They don't deserve sweet, sweet victory. The French have one thing that saves them from my tongue-lashing and that is Zinedine Zidane. The 34-year-old midfielder has had a long run, and it's his last game before retirement. I can appreciate an ageing player having a last hurrah. France better step it up in inevitable overtime.

Yu Yilei, China

It would not be fair to say that the World Cup final isn't appealing. Italy feature beautiful players (who can also play), and France have displayed the kind of morale that helped them to win the World Cup in 1998. But I am almost sure that one thing will be missing during the clash between two of the world's most defensive teams - beautiful football. They could be more cautious, playing more defensive than ever with the thought of already putting one hand on the Cup. Let's pray the team who are willing to take an attacking gamble win - just as what Italy did to eliminate Germany in the semi-finals.

Charlie Gidney, UK

First of all, I'd like to say that I tipped Italy as a finalist at the start of the tournament, so it's nice not to be entirely wrong. This has been an underwhelming tournament, and the final is a suitably unexciting conclusion. Everyone is looking for a Zidane-inspired fairy tale, but it's not going to happen: Italy are stronger across the board, with a better defence, a more consistent midfield and a much clearer grasp of the tactics they need to win this game. It'll be tight, scrappy, with the odd moment of class from Zidane and Thierry Henry, but with the clock winding down and the score 0-0, I'd bet on the Italians over the French every time.

Chen Xiangfeng, China

Italian coach Marcello Lippi's team are usually criticised for conservatism on the pitch, but they still have massive number of fans around the world, partly thanks to the players' charming faces and well-built figures. Italy boast a number of model-like players include Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti.

Now, Lippi has the best chance to prove the team also have the capability to show beautiful and offensive football in the final, and by winning their first World Cup title since 1982, Lippi's team are bound to have more Chinese people supporting them. To me, a male football fan, good-looking does not make any difference. I am looking forward to an offence-to-offence match.

Source: China Daily


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