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.
Locale Europe (UEFA)
Teams  France
First meeting Italy 6–2 France
(15 May 1910)
Latest meeting Italy 1–3 France
(1 September 2016)
Meetings total 38
Most wins Italy (18)
France (10)
Largest victory Italy 7–0 France
(22 March 1925)
Largest goal scoring Italy 9–4 France
(18 January 1920)

The France–Italy football rivalry between the 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 & Juventus), David Trezeguet (Juventus), Marcel Desailly (Milan), Paul Pogba (Juventus) 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.[1]

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.

List of matches[edit]

Number Date Location Competition Game Results
01 15 May 1910 Italy Milan Friendly Italy – France 6–2
02 9 April 1911 France Saint-Ouen / Paris Friendly France – Italy 2–2
03 17 March 1912 Italy Turin Friendly Italy – France 3–4
04 12 January 1913 France Saint-Ouen / Paris Friendly France – Italy 1–0
05 29 March 1914 Italy Turin Friendly Italy – France 2–0
06 18 January 1920 Italy Milan Friendly Italy – France 9–4
07 29 August 1920 Belgium Antwerp 1920 Summer Olympics France – Italy 3–1
08 20 February 1921 France Marseille Friendly France – Italy 1–2
09 22 March 1925 Italy Turin Friendly Italy – France 7–0
10 24 April 1927 France Colombes / Paris Friendly France – Italy 3–3
11 29 May 1928 Netherlands Amsterdam 1928 Summer Olympics France – Italy 3–4
12 25 January 1931 Italy Bologna Friendly Italy – France 5–0
13 10 April 1932 France Colombes / Paris Friendly France – Italy 1–2
14 17 February 1935 Italy Rome Friendly Italy – France 2–1
15 5 December 1937 France Paris Friendly France – Italy 0–0
16 12 June 1938 France Colombes / Paris 1938 World Cup France – Italy 1–3
17 4 December 1938 Italy Naples Friendly Italy – France 1–0
18 4 April 1948 France Colombes / Paris Friendly France – Italy 1–3
19 3 June 1951 Italy Genoa Friendly Italy – France 4–1
20 11 April 1954 France Colombes / Paris Friendly France – Italy 1–3
21 5 May 1956 Italy Bologna Friendly Italy – France 2–0
22 9 November 1958 France Colombes / Paris Friendly France – Italy 2–2
23 5 May 1962 Italy Florence Friendly Italy – France 2–1
24 19 March 1966 France Paris Friendly France – Italy 0–0
25 8 February 1978 Italy Naples Friendly Italy – France 2–2
26 2 June 1978 Argentina Mar del Plata 1978 World Cup Italy – France 2–1
27 23 February 1982 France Paris Friendly France – Italy 2–0
28 17 June 1986 Mexico Mexico City 1986 World Cup France – Italy 2–0
29 16 February 1994 Italy Naples Friendly Italy – France 0–1
30 11 June 1997 France Paris Friendly France – Italy 2–2
31 3 July 1998 France Saint Denis 1998 World Cup France – Italy 0–0
32 2 July 2000 Netherlands Rotterdam Euro 2000 Final France – Italy 2–1
33 9 July 2006 Germany Berlin 2006 World Cup Final Italy – France 1–1
34 6 September 2006 France Paris 2008 Euro qualifier France – Italy 3–1
35 8 September 2007 Italy Milan 2008 Euro qualifier Italy – France 0–0
36 17 June 2008 Switzerland Zürich Euro 2008 France – Italy 0–2
37 14 November 2012 Italy Parma Friendly Italy – France 1–2
38 1 September 2016 Italy Bari Friendly Italy – France 1–3

Comparison of France's and Italy's positions in major international tournaments[edit]

Tournament  France  Italy Notes
1930 World Cup 7th DNP
1934 World Cup 9th 1st
1938 World Cup 6th 1st In the quarter finals, Italy defeated France 3–1.
1950 World Cup DNP 7th
1954 World Cup 11th 10th
1958 World Cup 3rd FTQ
Euro 1960 4th DNP
1962 World Cup FTQ 9th
Euro 1964 FTQ FTQ
1966 World Cup 13th 9th
Euro 1968 FTQ 1st
1970 World Cup FTQ 2nd
Euro 1972 FTQ FTQ
1974 World Cup FTQ 10th
Euro 1976 FTQ FTQ
1978 World Cup 12th 4th France and Italy were placed in the same first round group. Italy defeated France 2–1, in the match between the two teams, as France did not progress out of the group.
Euro 1980 FTQ 4th
1982 World Cup 4th 1st
Euro 1984 1st FTQ
1986 World Cup 3rd 12th In the round of 16, France defeated Italy 2–0.
Euro 1988 FTQ 4th
1990 World Cup FTQ 3rd
Euro 1992 6th FTQ
1994 World Cup FTQ 2nd
Euro 1996 4th 10th
1998 World Cup 1st 5th In the quarter finals, France defeated Italy 4–3 on penalties after extra time.
Euro 2000 1st 2nd In the final, France defeated Italy 2–1 with a golden goal in extra time.
2002 World Cup 28th 15th
Euro 2004 6th 9th
2006 World Cup 2nd 1st In the final, Italy defeated France 5–3 on penalties.
Euro 2008 15th 8th France and Italy were placed in the same first round group. Italy defeated France 2–0, in the match between the two teams, as France did not progress out of the group.
2010 World Cup 29th 26th Both defending finalists were eliminated in the group stage, the first time this occurred.
Euro 2012 8th 2nd
2014 World Cup 7th 22nd
Euro 2016 2nd 5th

     Denotes which team finished better in that particular competition
FTQ – Failed to qualify
DNP – Did not participate

Major tournaments[edit]

1938 World Cup[edit]

On 12 June, France and Italy were matched up in the quarter final of the 1938 FIFA World Cup, which ended 3–1 in favour of Italy with goals by Gino Colaussi in the 9th minute and two goals by Silvio Piola in the 51st and 72nd minute, with France's only goal coming from Oscar Heisserer in the 10th minute, as France were eliminated.[2] Italy went on to win their second World Cup title in succession.

1978 World Cup[edit]

On 2 June, Italy and France met in the first group stage match of the 1978 FIFA World Cup, which ended 2–1 for Italy after goals by Paolo Rossi in the 29th minute and Renato Zaccarelli in the 54th minute, although France scored first in the 1st minute of play with a goal by Bernard Lacombe.[3] Italy later made it out of the group, however France did not.

1986 World Cup[edit]

On 17 June, Italy and France met in the round of 16 of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, which ended with France eliminating Italy from the tournament 2–0 with goals by Michel Platini in the 15th minute and Yannick Stopyra in the 57th minute.[4]

1998 World Cup[edit]

France and Italy have played 38 Official Matches against each other since 1910.

On 3 July, Italy and France were matched up for a quarter-final of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which ended in a goalless draw after 120 minutes. In the shoot-out, France won 4–3 to advance[5] and went on to with the 1998 World Cup 3–0 over Brazil.

Penalty shoot-out[edit]

Euro 2000[edit]

Main article: UEFA Euro 2000 Final

On 2 July, Marco Delvecchio gave Italy the lead in the 55th minute and they held on until the final minute of injury time, when Sylvain Wiltord crashed a low drive past Italian keeper Francesco Toldo to take the game into extra time.[6] France won the game just before half-time in extra-time when Robert Pirès cut the ball back for David Trezeguet to blast the golden goal into the top left corner of the net to win the tournament 2–1 for France.[7][8]

2006 World Cup[edit]

On 9 July, France and Italy faced off in the final. Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring by converting a controversial 7th-minute penalty kick,[9] conceded by Marco Materazzi, which glanced off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. Materazzi then levelled the scores in the 19th minute, a header from six yards following an Andrea Pirlo corner from the right. Both teams had chances to score the winning goal in normal time: Luca Toni hit the crossbar in the 35th minute for Italy, later having a header disallowed for offside, while France were not granted a possible second penalty in the 53rd minute when Florent Malouda went down in the box after a cover tackle from Gianluca Zambrotta. France appeared to be the side with better chances to win because of the higher number of shots on goal. They were unable to capitalise, however, and the score remained at one goal each.

At the end of the regulation time, the score was still level at 1–1, and the match was forced into extra time. Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon made a potentially game-saving save in extra time when he tipped a Zidane header over the crossbar.

Almost five minutes into the second half of extra time, Zidane and Materazzi were jogging up the pitch close to each other, they briefly exchanged words after Materazzi was seen tugging at Zidane's jersey before Zidane began to walk away from him. Moments later, Zidane suddenly stopped, turned around and head-butted Materazzi's chest, knocking him to the ground. Although play was halted, referee Horacio Elizondo did not appear to have seen the confrontation. According to match officials' reports, fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo informed Elizondo of the incident through his headset.[10] After consulting his assistants, Elizondo issued Zidane a red card in the 110th minute.[11]

Despite Italy being one man up for the last ten minutes of extra time, no team managed to score and remained 1–1, as the match went to penalty shoot-out.

The French David Trezeguet was the only player to miss his penalty kick as it hit the crossbar and the ball did not cross the goal line, while Fabio Grosso scored the winner for Italy as the Italians won the shoot-out 5–3.[12]

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]

Euro 2008[edit]

Italy and France met in the final group stage match of UEFA Euro 2008 on 17 June. Both sides needed a win to progress to the next round. Italian goals by Andrea Pirlo from the penalty spot in the 25th minute and Daniele De Rossi in the 62nd minute gave Italy a 2–0 win over France, which allowed them to progress to the quarter final, while France was eliminated.[13]



Draws include penalty shoot-outs

  • Total number of matches: 38
  • Italy wins: 18
  • Draws: 10
  • France wins: 10

See also[edit]


  1. ^ France – Italy (Head-To-Head) at
  2. ^ "Match Report France - Italy". 
  3. ^ "Match Report Italy - France". 
  4. ^ "Match Report Italy - France". 
  5. ^ "Match Report Italy - France". 
  6. ^ "France 2 Italy 1". BBC Sport. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Trezeguet strikes gold for France". 2 July 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "France 2 - 1 Italy". Guardian UK. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  9. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (9 July 2006). "Italy 1–1 France (aet)". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Fourth Official: I saw Zidane's Headbutt". ESPNsoccernet. 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 18 July 2006. Retrieved 11 July 2006. 
  11. ^ Williams, Richard (10 July 2006). "Zidane exits the stage with a walk of shame". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2006. 
  12. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (9 July 2006). "Italy 1–1 France (aet)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  13. ^ "France sunk as Italy grab lifeline". 18 June 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 

External links[edit]