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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
France-Italy key encounters

World Cup finalists France and Italy have met five times in major tournaments, and cannot be separated.

Each has two wins, a draw, two losses and six goals apiece.

France v Italy
5 Played 5
2 Won 2
1 Drawn 1
2 Lost 2
6 Goals 6

Yet recent history gives a big psychological advantage to France.

Les Bleus, with five of Sunday's likely line-up in their ranks (Fabien Barthez, Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry), defeated the Azzurri, with Fabio Cannavaro and Francesco Totti in their starting 11, in the final of Euro 2000.

And two years earlier, France dumped Italy out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Here are the previous encounters between the sides at major tournaments:

France 2-1 Italy (after extra-time)

A dramatic victory in Rotterdam made France the second side (after West Germany) to hold the World Cup and European Championship simmultaneously.

David Trezeguet
Substitute David Trezeguet scored an extra-time winner for France
Coach Roger Lemerre described the extra-time win as "a miracle" and it was hard to disagree.

Italy held a 1-0 lead in injury time following Marco Delvecchio's volleyed goal in the 55th minute.

But a trio of substitutes changed the game for France. First Robert Pires surged down the right and crossed for Sylvain Wiltord to finish and force the game into extra time.

Then, after 13 minutes of extra time, David Trezeguet coolly slotted past Italy's heroic keeper, Francesco Toldo, to secure an improbable victory.

Afterwards Thierry Henry said: "Everybody thought we were dead - with the French team, though, it is never over."

France 0-0 Italy (after extra-time; 4-3 on penalties)

A 77,000 crowd watched France claw their way into the semi-finals with a nerve-racking penalty shoot-out victory in Paris.

Luigi di Biagio
Di Biagio missed the decisive spot-kick for Italy
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in 120 minutes of play. Christian Vieri missed Italy's best chance, while Youri Djorkaeff and Emmanuel Petit went closest for France.

So the game had to be decided by penalties. Bixente Lizarazu missed France's second spot kick, but Demetrio Albertini followed up with a miss for Italy.

Finally Luigi de Biagio was left needing to score to keep Italy in the competition.

The shaven-headed midfielder hit the crossbar, prompting wild scenes of celebration inside the Stade de France.

It was the third time Italy had gone out of the World Cup on penalties, while France went on to claim their first World Cup title.

France 2-0 Italy

World Cup holders Italy were humbled by the great France team of Michel Platini, Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse.

Yannick Stopyra scores France's second goal
Yannick Stopyra wheels away after scoring France's second
Captain Platini and striker Yannick Stopyra scored the goals for France, who outplayed their opponents and should have added several more goals.

Italy lacked the flair and quality they had shown when triumphing in Spain four years earlier.

France beat Brazil on penalties in their next match in one of the greatest World Cup matches ever.

But they looked jaded in the semis and were beaten 2-0 by West Germany.

France 1-2 Italy

Italy were deserved winners in this opening first-round match.

Michel Platini
This was not a vintage French side, but it did include a young Platini
Bernard Lacombe gave France a flying start, scoring in the first minute, but Paolo Rossi and Renato Zaccarelli struck back to give Italy victory.

Despite including a young Platini in their ranks, this was not a vintage French side, and a further defeat by hosts Argentina meant they were knocked out in the first round.

In contrast, Italy started the competition in hugely impressive form, going on to beat Argentina 1-0 in River Plate to end the group stage with a 100% record.

However, they were drawn against a great Dutch side in the second round and a 2-1 defeat saw them exit the tournament.

France 1-3 Italy

More than 58,000 supporters crammed into the Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes to watch hosts France take on holders Italy.

Italy's victorious 1938 World Cup side
Italy's players celebrate retaining the Jules Rimet trophy
And the Azzurri ran out winners. Gino Colaussi put them into an early lead, but France's Oscar Heisserer struck back just a minute later.

But Italy dominated from then on and striker Silvio Piola struck two second-half goals to secure a comfortable victory.

Italy went on to retain their World Cup crown, although they were aided by the decision of South American sides to boycott the tournament because it was being held in Europe for the second time in a row.

Italy and Brazil (1958 and 1962) are the only sides to have retained the World Cup.

Italy v France
05 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Ranieri on Italy
07 Jul 06 |  Italy
Desailly on France
07 Jul 06 |  France
Alan Hansen's column
07 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Not everybody loves Raymond
07 Jul 06 |  France
Zidane's lasting legacy
05 Jul 06 |  France
Old hands still call the tune
06 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
BBC experts on France
05 Jul 06 |  France


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