Italy and France won the privilege to travel to Berlin for the final game of the tournament. First, Italy ousted the hosts Germans in one of the most exciting games of the competition. Second, France played enough football to score a goal and then comfortably defended their lead until the final whistle.

In a game that will be remembered for its fierce pace and the determination of the two teams to come out the winner, the Italians needed 118 minutes to open the score on a fabulous goal by Grosso. Moments later and as a desperate German team was pushing forward for the equalizer, Del Piero struck once more to seal the victory and send his team to the final. Wild celebrations broke out everywhere in Italy after the game ended, easing some of the pain induced by the match-fixing scandal that is unraveling in Italian courts. At the same time, German fans felt endless sorrow for their team’s loss but they found the courage to express their support for Klinsmann and his young team for a great showing in their World Cup.

France and Portugal met the next day to decide who will be challenging Italy for the trophy. Portugal entered the game with lots of energy and they dominated for the first few minutes. France eventually elevated their game and they begun to threaten managing a goal in the dying minutes of the first half. Henry was fouled inside the box after displaying his incredible dribbling skills and Zidane had no difficulty converting the penalty kick. In fact, Zidane was once again the beginning and the end for the French team continuing his inspired play since their tilt versus Brazil. In the second half, Portugal pressed for the equalizer while France seemed content to just defend their one goal lead and so the rhythm of the game was much less exciting. In the end, the French defense, lead by “man of the match” Lilian Thuram, prevailed and they will now start preparing for the last game of the competition against the high flying Italians. If France wins the trophy, it will be the perfect ending for Zidane’s magnificent football career as his has previously announced that he will be retiring at the end of the this World Cup.


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