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France meets Italy in World Cup Final

France edged past Portugal this morning to set up a date with Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final. Portugal's lack of goals proved to be the decisive factor as France scored through a penalty and defended that goal to the end. On the other hand, Portugal whom I thought would be the winner, did everything right but score.

Portugal would have learnt that possession and corner kicks are good but if they don't produce goals then they are only good for post match analysis and very little after that. Having said that, the central defensive partnership of Lilian Thuram and William Gallas was superb and worked vey well and in the end it forced Portugal to resort to long range shots which caused France no problems at all.

I think that in a way this match was rather subsued because ten players went on the pitch knowing that another yellow card would rule them out of the final. For France this included Zidane and Vieira but in the end Louis Saha is the only one who is going to miss out and I think he will look at his first yellow card against Brazil and wish he had been more thoughtful then.

Turning now to the incident that led to the penalty: Was it a dive? I will leave it for others to answer but what I can say is that if it was then its unfortunate because Thiery Henry always says that he never dives but if it wasn't then then the referee did a very good job in spotting the foul.

Looking forward to the final, it will be 4am local time here in Melbourne which is good in the sense that we can watch the whole match including extra time if there is any and still have ample time to start preparing for work and other daily activities. I don't forsee it as being a classic final but one that will be dominated by defence and attack on the counter but you never know.

In my opinion, the USA game aside, Italy have played very well in this tournament and if I were to choose a winner I would choose them. France on the other hand have to come to life in the knockout stages where they are still to concede a goal in open play and rightly deserve to be in the final. A win for France will be a good send off for Zidane.

I never thought I would find myself going for France in this world cup but this time I am. They have a defence just as good as Italy's if not better and attacking wise they have Henry and in David Trezeguet they have somebody who understands the Italian defenders. So I am saying go France!
By the way that wasn't a dive by Henry, it was a professional foul by Carvalho.

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