Classic Confrontation of Creativity….Not
So we’re back in Vancouver, the hotbed of the world’s game, to watch the final of Euro 2000 live. This is supposed to be the battle of the French flair going forward against the Italian stonewall defence. Yeah right. So I expect the Italians to attack more first half and the French to be patient. The Italians know that they have to score first so why not attack. The much vaunted French attack just happens to be supplemented by a back four who have played together as a unit twenty five times and never lost. Now you know why they are World Champions and probably favourites to win Euro 2000.
Dino Zoff says he won’t man mark Zinedine Zidane. Yes. That’s another very believable pre-game strategy. “We’ll just leave arguably the world’s number one footballer free to roam and pick his moments.” Expect legs to appear biting at his heels at the same time the ball does, and perhaps as many as six at a time. Also look for virtually nothing from Zinedine in the first half and fireworks in the second.
It will be interesting tactically as every final inevitably is but don’t expect too much in the form of outright entertainment. Outright attempts on goal will be at an absolute premium and the high quality of the tournament in general in terms of enterprising soccer will not be matched as the outcome will be deemed more important than the method of achievement.
Now I personally had hoped for Holland versus Portugal final which I believe had the potential to be a classic confrontation of creativity, when you consider the ambivalence towards defence from both and the loose passing in midfield, which can be such a joy to watch. From Italy versus France, we will see a lot less risk taking. It will take a spark of genius to unlock the tightness. The good news is that these guys are some of the best in the world at their craft and a breakthrough is eminently possible. We hope it doesn’t come down to the dreaded boring overtime while we wait for the unsatisfactory but at least entertaining to watch penalty shoot-out.
It will also take magnificent refereeing, and I can only hope for that. There will inevitably be a horrendous amount of seen and unseen shirt pulling, borderline tackling/deliberate fouls, deliberate time wasting, deliberate diving and acting lessons. I just hope for a proportionate amount of exciting moments, goalmouth incidents, and dare I suggest goals. My prediction: – France, just.
Till the next time.