Factbox of final between Italy and France

Where: Olympiastadion, Berlin World Cup capacity: 72,000 When: Sunday, July 9, 2000 local (1800 GMT) Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)

Linesmen: Dario Garcia (Argentina), Rodolfo Otero (Argentina)

Teams: Likely formation; shirt numbers, name, caps, goals, coach:

Italy:

1-Gianluigi Buffon (66-0); 19-Gianluca Zambrotta (57-2), 23-Marco Materazzi (31-1), 5-Fabio Cannavaro (99-1), 3-Fabio Grosso (22-2); 20-Simone Perrotta (30-1), 21-Andrea Pirlo (30-5), 8-Gennaro Gattuso (46-1); 16-Mauro Camoranesi (25-1), 10-Francesco Totti (57-9); 9-Luca Toni (23-9).

Coach: Marcello Lippi

France: (4-2-3-1):

16-Fabien Barthez (86-0); 19-Willy Sagnol (44-0), 15-Lilian Thuram (120-2), 5-William Gallas (46-1), 3-Eric Abidal (13-0); 4-Patrick Vieira (93-6), 6-Claude Makelele (49-0); 22-Franck Ribery (9-1), 10-Zinedine Zidane (107-30), 7-Florent Malouda (18-2); 12-Thierry Henry (84-36)

Coach: Raymond Domenech

Team News:

Italy defender Alessandro Nesta is ruled out with the groin injury that has kept him out of all of Italy's games in the knockout stage. Marco Materazzi will again deputise in the centre of defence alongside captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Midfielder Daniele De Rossi has completed his four match ban, received following his red card in the second group game against the United States, and is avaliable to Lippi.

France coach Raymond Domenech is expected to keep faith in the team that started France's last three matches, a compact formation with Zinedine Zidane in a playmaking role and Thierry Henry on his own up front.

Before the tournament Domenech had never fielded the same team in successive matches but he now has found the right formula with notably a watertight back four who have conceded just two goals from six matches.

Injuries: Alessandro Nesta (Italy)

Suspended: Louis Saha (France)

Key Quotes:

Italy coach Marcello Lippi: "My players have improved as the tournament has progressed, both mentally and physically. This is a superb squad. We have an incredible team spirit and that can give you a decisive edge at this level. It can often prove to be the difference between two highly technically-gifted sides that are evenly-matched in every other area."

France midfielder Patrick Vieira: "Italy will be tough but when you've just knocked out Spain, Brazil and Portugal, you can keep your head held high and believe in yourself."

France coach Raymond Domenech: "What matters now is to go all the way. We can't be content with just being in the final. We must give all we have in that final to make sure we have no regrets."

Key stats:

Italy have not beaten France since the World Cup finals in 1978 when they enjoyed a 2-1 win in the group stage. Since then they have met six times with France winning four and two draws.

Italy have scored at least one goal in their last 10 matches at a World Cup finals. Ten Italian players have scored at these finals.

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro will make his 100th appearance for his country.

Five France players (Fabien Barthez, William Gallas, Claude Makelele, Willy Sagnol, Lilian Thuram) have played every minute of France's six games. Just Gianluigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro have featured throughout Italy's campaign.

Source: China Daily



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