France–Italy football rivalry

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France–Italy football rivalry
France - Italy, football, 20 feb 1921 (2).jpg
France–Italy match on 20 February 1921.
City or region France, Italy
Teams involved France, Italy
First contested 15 May 1910
Number of meetings 37
Most wins Italy (18)
Most recent meeting France 2–1 Italy
Friendly
Parma
(14 November 2012)
Next meeting TBD
Largest victory Italy 7–0 France
Friendly
Turin
(22 March 1925)

National teams of France and Italy are longtime rivals, as the two countries are neighbours and football is Italy's national sport. In recent times this rivalry has been more diffused, as many top French players made their names while playing for Serie A clubs, notably Lilian Thuram (Parma FC & Juventus), David Trézéguet (Juventus), Marcel Desailly (A.C. Milan) and Zinédine Zidane (Juventus) to name a few.

For many years Italy dominated (before 1982: 17 wins, 3 losses and 6 draws), while from 1982 the French team had not lost a single game against Italy (with 5 wins and 4 draws) until the 2006 World Cup final, which Italy won on penalties. France would remain unbeaten against Italy within 90 minutes until UEFA Euro 2008, when Italy beat them 2-0 to eliminate them at the group stage.

Several other games remain in the memory of football fans and have put their mark on the World Cup and of the European Football Championship. Among them, the 2006 World Cup Final, when the Italians defeated the French 5-3 in the penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw, and the 2000 European Championship, won by France with an extra-time golden goal by David Trézéguet.

Games[edit]

Number Date Location Competition Game Results
37 November 14, 2012 Parma
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 1 – 2
36 June 17, 2008 Zürich
Flag of Switzerland.svg (Switzerland)
2008 European Football Championship France - Italy 0 – 2
35 September 8, 2007 Milan
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
2008 European Championship Qualifier Italy - France 0 – 0
34 September 6, 2006 Paris
France (France)
2008 European Championship Qualifier France - Italy 3 – 1
33 July 9, 2006 Berlin
Germany (Germany)
World Cup 2006 Final Italy - France 1 – 1
(a)
32 July 2, 2000 Rotterdam
Netherlands (Netherlands)
UEFA Euro 2000 Final France - Italy 2 – 1
(b)
31 July 3, 1998 Saint Denis
France (France)
World Cup 1998 France – Italy 0 – 0
(c)
30 June 11, 1997 Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 2 – 2
29 February 16, 1994 Naples
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 0 – 1
28 June 17, 1986 Mexico City
Mexico (Mexico)
World Cup 1986 France - Italy 2 – 0
(d)
27 February 23, 1982 Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 2 – 0
26 June 2, 1978 Mar del Plata
Argentina (Argentina)
World Cup 1978 Italy - France 2 – 1
(e)
25 February 8, 1978 Naples
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 2 – 2
24 March 19, 1966 Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 0 – 0
23 May 5, 1962 Florence
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 2 – 1
22 November 9, 1958 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 2 – 2
21 May 5, 1956 Bologna
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 2 – 0
20 April 11, 1954 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 1 – 3
19 June 3, 1951 Genoa
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 4 – 1
18 April 4, 1948 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 1 – 3
17 December 4, 1938 Naples
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 1 – 0
16 June 12, 1938 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
World Cup 1938 France - Italy 1 – 3
(f)
15 December 5, 1937 Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 0 – 0
14 February 17, 1935 Rome
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 2 – 1
13 April 10, 1932 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 1 – 2
12 January 25, 1931 Bologna
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 5 – 0
11 May 29, 1928 Amsterdam
Netherlands (Netherlands)
1928 Summer Olympics France - Italy 3 – 4
10 April 24, 1927 Colombes / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 3 – 3
09 March 22, 1925 Turin
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 7 – 0
08 February 20, 1921 Marseille
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 1 – 2
07 August 29, 1920 Antwerp
Belgium (Belgium)
1920 Summer Olympics France - Italy 3 – 1
06 January 18, 1920 Milan
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 9 – 4
05 March 29, 1914 Turin
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 2 – 0
04 January 12, 1913 Saint-Ouen / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 1 – 0
03 March 17, 1912 Turin
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 3 – 4
02 April 9, 1911 Saint-Ouen / Paris
France (France)
Friendly France - Italy 2 – 2
01 May 15, 1910 Milan
Flag of Italy.svg (Italy)
Friendly Italy - France 6 – 2
(g)

World Cup 1998[edit]

Among the many confrontations between the French and Italian teams, the quarter-final played during the World Cup 1998 was of special importance as it meant for both teams a possible qualification to the semi-finals of a World Cup, a performance by itself. But in addition France had a special incentive to win as for the first time in many years (since 1986) it could play a significant role in a World cup, and to do that as the host of the competition in front of all its supporters. This was also a quarterfinal rematch of France 1938 as Italy largely beat (3-1) the host on their way to a second consecutive title.

Italy traditionally performs well during World Cups (winner in 1982, third place in 1990 and runner-up in 1994) and expected to beat the local team in order to reach the semi-finals one more time.

As can be seen in the previous section, for more than 70 years (1910 to 1986) Italy won most of their matches against France, but the situation started to change in the 80’s and this World Cup would indicate which team was dominant in the 90’s. This match was also of particular importance to the players of both teams as many were competing in the same clubs in the Italian Serie A. They had good reasons to prove to their teammates that they were doing better on the international scene.

Many French footballers played in Serie A (the premier Italian championship) at that time: Zinedine Zidane (Juventus F.C.), Didier Deschamps (Juventus F.C.), Marcel Desailly (A.C. Milan), Youri Djorkaeff (Internazionale Milano F.C.), Lilian Thuram (Parma F.C.), Vincent Candela (A.S. Roma), Alain Boghossian (Parma F.C.), others like Laurent Blanc had played before in Italy (SSC Napoli). Obviously there strong connections between the players of both teams and they had something to prove, in addition to having the opportunity to reach another important step in the competition.

The match was of good quality but ended after extra time with a draw 0–0, both teams having opportunities to win in open play. The result of the match had to be decided by a nerve-racking penalty shootout. In that exercise the French team performed better (4-3), the shoot-out was stopped when the last Italian player, Luigi Di Biagio, failed to score (Bixente Lizarazu (France) and Demetrio Albertini (Italy) also failed before, but without effect on the final outcome).

Among the images that one can remember from this, one showed Thierry Henry standing behind, hiding his head in the shirt of teammate David Trézéguet, waiting for Di Biagio to shoot, and later on some French players trying to console their Italian teammates, but obviously happy with the result.

Penalty Shoot-out[edit]

World Cup 2006[edit]

The final match of the World Cup 2006 in Germany were to be contested between Italy and France. After only seven minutes of play, France was awarded a controversial penalty which Zinedine Zidane, in his last match before retiring, converted into a goal. Italy equalized twelve minutes later, however, after a header on a corner by Marco Materazzi, the same player whose foul had yielded the penalty. These two would later in match be involved in a controversial situation which was subject to worldwide discussion.

During the second half Toni scored a goal being in regular position but the referee did not validate it because another player (De Rossi) was offside. After 90 minutes of play, the score was still 1-1, with each team having had one good half. Italy was the better team in the first half, while France played better during the second half. Regardless, the score was tied and extra time would have to be played.

Five minutes into the second half of extra time, a discussion between Zidane and Materazzi occurred after a French attack during which Materazzi had marked Zidane. At first, Zidane walked away from Materazzi, but then something said caused the Frenchman to turn around and head butt the Italian in the chest. The ref, who did not see the situation, stopped play because Materazzi had fallen to the ground. Following a discussion between the ref, the assistant ref, and the fourth ref, Zidane was shown a red card and sent off.

Despite Italy being one man up for the last ten minutes of the match, no team managed to score, and the match went to penalties. This was the second time in the history of the World Cup that the final match would be decided on penalties, the first time being when Brazil beat Italy in 1994.

Perhaps the most surprising part was that Barthez and Buffon, both dubbed as some of the world's best goalkeepers, failed to save any of the penalties. All the Italian players scored while David Trézéguet's hit the crossbar and the ball did not cross the goal line.

After the match, Zidane was given the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo, both from Italy, placed second and third respectively.

Penalty Shoot-out[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Overall[edit]

  • Total number of games: 37
  • Italy wins: 18
  • Draws: 10
  • France wins: 9