Friday, July 07, 2006

BATTLE OF THE BLUES

The finals of the 2006 world cup will feature France and Italy. No one would have anticipated this clash even 15 days ago. Both the teams have rewritten the formbook. Zidane and the others of the Les Bleus started the tournament in a poor fashion, securing a draw with Switzerland. But as the tournament advanced to the knock out stages, the French conquest gathered the momentum and Spain was beaten decisively. Then in the quarterfinals, it was the turn of Brazil to suffer a loss.

The Italians have always played scrappy football where a goal decided the issue. The match against Australia went the full distance before a doubtful penalty settled the issue in favour of the Azzuri. However, in the subsequent matches, the Italians displayed attacking football, securing a place in the finals. The Italians are in the finals after a gap of 12 years. Interestingly, they also reached the finals in 1982 which was also 12 years from 1994.

The finals shall be interesting with Zidane and company making a final attempt at glory while the Italians would be keen to win the cup and redeem themselves following the match fixing allegations at the club level. Can they repeat the feat of 1982 when they won the cup in Spain, which also was preceded by allegations of match fixing?

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