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The Rediff Special/
First all-European final since 1982
July 07, 2006
The World Cup final between Italy and France will be the first all-European final since 1982, which was won by Italy. Italy triumphed at the 1936 Olympic Games, held in Berlin's Olympiastadion, the venue for Sunday's final, beating Austria 2-1 in extra-time in the final. Italy have so far conceded just one goal (own goal) in the 2006 tournament. Italy is one of the most successful teams, having won three World Cups - 1934, 1938, 1982. The traditional jersey colour of Italy is sky blue (azzurro, in Italian), and therefore the team is nicknamed Azzurri. Sunday's final will be captain Fabio Cannavaro's 100th cap for Italy. Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has not conceded a goal for 453 minutes at the World Cup, making him fifth in the all-time ranking for unbeaten goalkeepers. France's performance in the 2002 World Cup was dismal. They did not win a single game, nor did they score a goal. Since making their World Cup debut in 1930, France have appeared in 12 World Cups, and claimed the title in 1998. If no hat-trick is scored in the last two games, then it will be the first time that a finals ended without a three-goal haul.