France–Italy football rivalry
France–Italy match on 20 February 1921.
|First meeting||Italy 6–2 France
(15 May 1910)
|Latest meeting||France 2–1 Italy
(14 November 2012)
|Most wins||Italy (18)
|Largest victory||Italy 7–0 France
(22 March 1925)
|Largest goal scoring||Italy 9–4 France
(18 January 1920)
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 Trezeguet (Juventus), Marcel Desailly (A.C. Milan) and Zinedine 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 an 1–1 draw, and the 2000 European Championship, won by France with an extra-time golden goal by David Trezeguet.
|37||14 November 2012||Parma||Friendly||Italy – France||1 – 2|
|36||17 June 2008||Zürich||2008 European Football Championship||France – Italy||0 – 2|
|35||8 September 2007||Milan||2008 European Championship Qualifier||Italy – France||0 – 0|
|34||6 September 2006||Paris||2008 European Championship Qualifier||France – Italy||3 – 1|
|33||9 July 2006||Berlin||World Cup 2006 Final||Italy – France||1 – 1
|32||2 July 2000||Rotterdam||UEFA Euro 2000 Final||France – Italy||2 – 1
|31||3 July 1998||Saint Denis||World Cup 1998||France – Italy||0 – 0
|30||11 June 1997||Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||2 – 2|
|29||16 February 1994||Naples||Friendly||Italy – France||0 – 1|
|28||17 June 1986||Mexico City||World Cup 1986||France – Italy||2 – 0
|27||23 February 1982||Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||2 – 0|
|26||2 June 1978||Mar del Plata||World Cup 1978||Italy – France||2 – 1
|25||8 February 1978||Naples||Friendly||Italy – France||2 – 2|
|24||19 March 1966||Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||0 – 0|
|23||5 May 1962||Florence||Friendly||Italy – France||2 – 1|
|22||9 November 1958||Colombes / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||2 – 2|
|21||5 May 1956||Bologna||Friendly||Italy – France||2 – 0|
|20||11 April 1954||Colombes / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||1 – 3|
|19||3 June 1951||Genoa||Friendly||Italy – France||4 – 1|
|18||4 April 1948||Colombes / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||1 – 3|
|17||4 December 1938||Naples||Friendly||Italy – France||1 – 0|
|16||12 June 1938||Colombes / Paris||World Cup 1938||France – Italy||1 – 3
|15||5 December 1937||Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||0 – 0|
|14||17 February 1935||Rome||Friendly||Italy – France||2 – 1|
|13||10 April 1932||Colombes / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||1 – 2|
|12||25 January 1931||Bologna||Friendly||Italy – France||5 – 0|
|11||29 May 1928||Amsterdam||1928 Summer Olympics||France – Italy||3 – 4|
|10||24 April 1927||Colombes / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||3 – 3|
|09||22 March 1925||Turin||Friendly||Italy – France||7 – 0|
|08||20 February 1921||Marseille||Friendly||France – Italy||1 – 2|
|07||29 August 1920||Antwerp||1920 Summer Olympics||France – Italy||3 – 1|
|06||18 January 1920||Milan||Friendly||Italy – France||9 – 4|
|05||29 March 1914||Turin||Friendly||Italy – France||2 – 0|
|04||12 January 1913||Saint-Ouen / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||1 – 0|
|03||17 March 1912||Turin||Friendly||Italy – France||3 – 4|
|02||9 April 1911||Saint-Ouen / Paris||Friendly||France – Italy||2 – 2|
|01||15 May 1910||Milan||Friendly||Italy – France||6 – 2
- (a) Italy wins the 2006 FIFA World Cup after penalties (5–3)
- (b) Golden goal by David Trézéguet, France wins the 2000 European Championship
- (c) France wins the quarter-final after penalties (4–3) and later wins the 1998 World Cup
- (d) Goals by Michel Platini and Yannick Stopyra, France qualifies for the quarter-finals
- (e) Bernard Lacombe scores one of the fastest goal in history, but Italy wins.
- (f) Italy wins the quarter-final and later wins the 1938 FIFA World Cup
- (g) First international match ever for Italy
Comparison of France and Italy in major international tournaments
|1930 World Cup||5–8||DNP|
|1934 World Cup||9–16||1|
|1938 World Cup||9–16||1||In the quarter finals, Italy defeated France 3–1.|
|1950 World Cup||DNP||9–16|
|1954 World Cup||9–16||9–16|
|1958 World Cup||3||FTQ|
|1962 World Cup||FTQ||9–16|
|1966 World Cup||9–16||9–16|
|1970 World Cup||FTQ||2|
|1974 World Cup||FTQ||9–16|
|1978 World Cup||9–16||4||France and Italy were placed in the same first round group. Italy defeated France 2–1, in the match between the two teams.|
|1982 World Cup||4||1|
|1986 World Cup||3||9–16||In the round of 16, France defeated Italy 2–0.|
|1990 World Cup||FTQ||3|
|1994 World Cup||FTQ||2|
|1998 World Cup||1||5–8||In the quarter finals, France defeated Italy 4–3 on penalties after extra time.|
|2000 Euros||1||2||In the final, France defeated Italy 2–1 after extra time.|
|2002 World Cup||17–32||9–16|
|2006 World Cup||2||1||In the final, Italy defeated France 5–3 on penalties.|
|2008 Euros||9–16||5–8||France and Italy were placed in the same first round group. Italy defeated France 2–0, in the match between the two teams.|
|2010 World Cup||17–32||17–32||Both defending finalists were eliminated in the group stage, the first time this occurred.|
|2014 World Cup||5–8||17–32|
World Cup 1998
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.
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.
- 1:0 Zinedine Zidane (France) - Scored
- 1:1 Roberto Baggio (Italy) - Scored
- 1:1 Bixente Lizarazu (France) - Missed
- 1:1 Demetrio Albertini (Italy) - Missed
- 2:1 David Trezeguet (France) - Scored
- 2:2 Alessandro Costacurta (Italy) - Scored
- 3:2 Thierry Henry (France) - Scored
- 3:3 Christian Vieri (Italy) - Scored
- 4:3 Laurent Blanc (France) - Scored
- 4:3 Luigi Di Biagio (Italy) - Missed
World Cup 2006
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 an 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.
- 1:0 Andrea Pirlo (Italy) - Scored
- 1:1 Sylvain Wiltord (France) - Scored
- 2:1 Marco Materazzi (Italy) - Scored
- 2:1 David Trezeguet (France) - Missed
- 3:1 Daniele De Rossi (Italy) - Scored
- 3:2 Éric Abidal (France) - Scored
- 4:2 Alessandro Del Piero (Italy) - Scored
- 4:3 Willy Sagnol (France) - Scored
- 5:3 Fabio Grosso (Italy) - Scored