Player of the Day
Andrea Pirlo - such cultured skills emanating from midfield
It caused barely a ripple in Italy’s assured stride. Their passes were sticking, their tackles hitting home. Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso had established command of midfield while down the right Gianluca Zambrotta and Camoranesi combined impressively.
It was Camoranesi’s persistence and tight control near the touchline that forced the corner that yielded the 19th-minute equaliser. Pirlo’s delivery was inch-perfect and Materazzi powered his header home.
Just at that moment the sun had reappeared from behind a cloud to throw light on Italy’s spirited recovery and stoke up the temperatures inside the arena. Henry began to emerge as a key performer, seemingly impossible to shrug off the ball, and that also brought the best out of the dynamic newcomer Frank Ribery.
France came close on several occasions and in extra time Zidane would have scored with a header had Buffon not denied him. The night was soon to take an even more devastating turn for Zizou, a moment of madness ensuring that his retirement began at least nine minutes earlier than it should have done.
Goal of the Day
Fabio Grosso - such coolness under pressure
Trezeguet’s miss meant that as Grosso stepped up for the long walk from the half-way line the world was in his hands. A no-nonsense left-foot strike into the right-hand corner of the net underlined the contribution the Palermo defender has made to the Italian cause this past month. After a gap of 24 years they were world champions once more.
FIFA World Ranking
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