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Italy 1-1 France (aet)
Sunday, 9 July 2006

Italy win 5-3 on penalties

All the pre-match build-up to the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France in Berlin.


1720 BST: "Germany took centre stage with their celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate at noon - with maybe just an element of trying to steal the show from the finalists. But now the final is very much the main event. There is not enough room in the media centre to seat hundreds of reporters who have travelled from around the world to watch this showpiece."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

1710 BST: Don't expect there to be much - apart from football watching - going on in France or Italy tonight. In Rome, they've put up three giant screens, including one of 50 square metres. That's about as big as half a football pitch in size - and the Italians hope up to 200,000 fans in the Circus Maximus will be able to see it.

1700 BST: "The capacity is there for a classic, but tension is already in the air and we are still two hours away from kick-off."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

1650 BST: Debate, as ever, rages on our messageboards. And not just about who will win, but about the quality of tonight's match. User Alexander801 is not optimistic - "Drink lots of coffee to stay awake, you will need it," he warns. But Defoe'sRightPeg is having none of it. "We thought Milan-Liverpool in 2005 in Istanbul would see two great defences cancel each other out. God how wrong we were." Our hope? It will be a classic - but drink lots of coffee anyway, as coffee's nice.

1635 BST: Who do the Germans want to win tonight? They're pretty divided. Some want Italy to win so Germany can say they lost to the winners. Some want Italy to lose as revenge for their win over Germany. Some want Italy to win because some Italian restaurants say they'll dish out free pizza. And some want Italy to lose, because if they lift their fourth world title tonight, they'll have one more than Germany. What a conundrum.

1612 BST: Should triumphant French cyclist Sylvain Calzati fancy pounding a few lagers while watching the match tonight, he can do so in the knowledge that tomorrow is a rest day on the Tour de France, so he can sleep late.

1555 BST: Here's one for you omen fans out there - and we don't mean the Devil's offspring-themed horror film. The Tour de France's eighth stage has finished and it's been a good day for the French. Sylvain Calzati has won in Lorient, with his compatriot, Patrice Halgand coming third. Italy's top finisher? Daniele Beannati, back in fifth place. Will there be more Gallic cheer later on?

1540 BST: What is 2.8cm long, green and very expensive? The grass at Berlin's Olympiastadion. It has been trimmed to Fifa-regulation length under the watchful eye of Scottish head groundsman Alan Cairncross and will be dug up on Tuesday, before being sold off to green-fingered football nuts from around the world.

1525 BST: According to reports in the media, French and Italian fans desperate to get their hands on some prized World Cup final tickets will have to dig deep into their pockets, no surprise there. One report said a member of the Brazilian Federation had sold a ticket for 2,200 euros (1,528).

1517 BST: "The World Cup final is not the only major sporting event taking place today - and a packed media centre is also enthralled by coverage of the Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal taking place on Centre Court. Nadal appears to be the crowd favourite in here, but Federer's play is also drawing gasps of approval as the world's media prepare for the game between Italy and France."
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

1505 BST: "The key battle for me will be who controls the midfield, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso or Patrick Vieira and Claude Makalele, and then who can be the creator Francesco Totti or Zinedine Zidane? Also who can take their chances out of Theirry Henry and Luca Toni? When you compare both teams they are very equal and it will all be down to who performs on the day."
red4eva on BBC 606 messageboard

1448 BST: "Italy might just shade it and I hope that they play like they did in their last match in the semi-final against Germany, they were sensational. I think It will be a low-scoring game and there will be one goal in it. I'd like to think it will be 3-2. But I think 2-1 or 1-0 is more likely."
Sir Bobby Robson, BBC Five Live Sport

1430 BST: Could it be a lucky omen, though, that France are playing in white for the fourth game in a row and have won their last three matches? Italy are the designated home team and will turn out in their familiar blue kit.

1415 BST: Graham Taylor doesn't believe in fate. Asked whether it was destined that Zinedine Zidane would end his professional career on a high note in the World Cup finals he told BBC Radio Five Live Sport: "You make your own destiny. At the end of the day it's down to yourself."

1411 BST: Former French Legend Michel Platini says this year's World Cup will be remembered for the atmosphere rather than the football. He said: "The formations have been rather defensive. But, having said that, in terms of the organisation and atmosphere, there's no comparison."

1357 BST: With presidential elections due to take place in France next year, politicians have been flocking to Berlin to add their support to the national team.

1353 BST: The back and front pages of the Sunday nationals in Italy and France have been gripped by football fever. Italy's Corriere dello Sport exclaimed "Bring the Cup home", while France's L'Equipe went with "Date with destiny for Zidane and Les Bleus".

1345 BST: Italy striker Alessandro Del Piero is not a man you'd like to get on the wrong side of. He includes Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and basketball star Steve Nash among his celebrity mates.

1334 BST: The Eiffel Tower in Paris will glitter and sparkle all night long if France are triumphant tonight while security measures have been tightened in both countries. The Italian press reported that 3,000 police officers would be mobilised in Rome.

1329 BST: "Thierry Henry hasn't performed on the big stage yet. He's not the number one star in France, Zinedine Zidane is."
Graham Taylor on BBC Radio Five Live Sport

1328 BST: "I've been working with Marcel Desailly and I was astonished that Thierry Henry doesn't have the reputation in France that he has in the rest of the world. Henry has done well for the team as they've got to the final but France play a different game to the one that he's been used to playing at Arsenal."
Martin O'Neill on BBC Radio Five Live Sport

1322 BST:While all the talk leading up to the final has been regarding the last appearance of France midfielder Zinedine Zidane, it marks a memorable occasion for Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro who will win his 100th international cap.

1314 BST: "I think both teams can go up another level. But I'm a bit concerned that they might not commit themselves and take some time to see how the game develops. I hope that's not the case, I hope the Italians play the way they did against Germany in extra-time of their semi-final match."
Graham Taylor on BBC Radio Five Live Sport

1312 BST: "The centre of Berlin is populated by thousands of Italy and France fans preparing to travel to the stadium. They are joined by supporters of other countries, including many Germans and a large numbers of Mexico fans, who maybe bought tickets for the final in a moment of wild optimism. A few English followers remain judging by a huge flag draped from the windows of Berlin's Hotel Boulevard which reads: 'Liverpool - Betty Ford Clinic Kensington.'"
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Berlin

1300 BST:"You have been extraordinary, but now what counts is winning."
Italy President Giorgio Napolitano rallies the squad in their final practice session.

1252 BST: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano flew into Berlin earlier this morning ahead of the match while back home, Rome's ancient Circus Maximus is gearing up for almost 200,000 fans who are expected to watch the match on one of the three big screens.

1240 BST: Germany's Lukas Podolski, the 21-year-old striker who was voted the best young player of the World Cup, offers his thoughts on who he fancies to lift the World Cup trophy. He said: "I think the French will make it."

1228 BST: And looking back on the 1974 tournament in West Germany, the semi-final between the hosts and Poland in Frankfurt had to be delayed due to the atrocious conditions. The match is still referred to in the country as 'the battle of the water' but didn't stop West Germany securing a 1-0 victory.

1225 BST: The weather forecast in Berlin today is for light showers but for the temperature to remain high. The whole tournament has been played in heatwave conditions which is in stark contrast to the last time West Germany staged the competition in 1974 when there was constant rain.

1215 BST: "I think it will be very tight. At the beginning of the tournament I thought France could quietly get along with their business with little expectation, but on the other hand I didn't fancy the Italians as I didn't think there was enough pace in the team but they've done exceptionally well."
Martin O'Neill on BBC Radio Five Live Sport

1205 BST:If Italy can play like they did against Germany in the semi-finals and France play to their potential, we could have a classic on our hands.
Sir Bobby Robson on BBC Radio Five Live Sport.

1200 BST:After 63 matches in this year's tournament in Germany, Berlin gears up for the finale between Italy and France. A Scot, however, will play a major part in the last match as Alan Cairncross is the head groundsman at the Olympic Stadium.

Italy v France tactical analysis
08 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
France-Italy key encounters
07 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Ranieri on Italy
07 Jul 06 |  Italy
Serie A sale
07 Jul 06 |  Europe
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
Berlin - Olympiastadion
03 Dec 05 |  Venues


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