One word for France — Zizou. Italy’s answer — Cannavaro.
Zidane’s performance against Brazil and Portugal proved his age together with Patrick Vieira is an unstoppable combination that brings experience, composure and leadership to the team. Zidane’s brilliance in the midfield will be greatly depended upon, especially when Italy’s defender — Cannavaro is a wall to reckon with, to create scoring opportunities for them and hope one of the deadliest strikers in the world convert on it — Thierry Henry.
There wouldnâ€™t be a lot of scoring opportunities from both sides when Italy’s defense anchored on Cannavaro and Buffon proved formidable, while Liliam Thuram defensive leadership has vastly progressed to a point that it could hold against Italy throughout the game.
I would say though that France is going to get a lot more ball possession because I don’t see how Italy’s midfielders led by Gattuso can match Ribery, Zidane and Vieira. Ribery’s lightning quick pace, Zidane’s experience and direction plus Vieira manning at the same level as Zidane could prove too much for Italy.
Itâ€™s up to Henry to deliver whatever golden gem opportunities their midfields hand him.
Italy on the other hand relies so much on their defense to power their offense which saw them having a lot of players scoring goals for the team. This could prove daunting for France who would not know where the goal is coming from.
Below is the projected game lineup for each team:
France: 16. BARTHEZ Fabien, 3. ABIDAL Eric, 4. VIEIRA Patrick, 5. GALLAS William, 6. MAKELELE Claude, 7. MALOUDA Florent, (C)10. ZIDANE Zinedine, (C)10. ZIDANE Zinedine, 15. THURAM Lilian, 19. SAGNOL Willy, 22. RIBERY Frank
Italy: 1. BUFFON Gianluigi, 3. GROSSO Fabio , 5. CANNAVARO FabioÂ©, 7. DEL PIERO Alessandro , 8. GATTUSO Gennaro , 9. TONI Luca , 11. GILARDINO Alberto , 19. ZAMBROTTA Gianluca , 20. PERROTTA Simone , 21. PIRLO Andrea , 23. MATERAZZI Marco
Forecast: France 2 – Italy 1 (Overtime)
[tags]FIFA World Cup, World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2006, Germany, France, Italy, Semi-finals[/tags]