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PLAYER RATING: ITALY; WORLD CUP 2006.

BUFFON: Deceived by Zidane from the spot but lived up to his reputation as the world's best keeper with two good saves to deny Henry and Zidane 8

ZAMBROTTA: Booked early on for a late challenge on Vieira. Kept France pegged back by pushing forward regularly 7

MATERAZZI: Nightmare start for former Everton man. Tried to pull out of tackle but still conceded a penalty, then came close to netting an own goal. Made amends with the equaliser and then slammed home a penalty.

But what d id he say to Zidane? 8

CANNAVARO: Brilliant sliding tackle on Henry. Superb positional sense as always.

Hardly put a foot wrong 8

GROSSO: Kept Ribery under control for long periods and pushed forward as well. Took a deep breath and won the World Cup for Italy 9

PERROTTA (off 61): First player from Ashton-under-Lyme to appear in a World Cup final since Geoff Hurst and did not make anywhere near the same impact 6

PIRLO: No real room to exhibit the full range of his passing but created havoc with a series of well-placed set pieces. Scored in shoot-out 8

GATTUSO: Shaded an intense midfield battle with Vieira. Covered acres of ground and closed down numerous French attacks. Not the most eye-catching player but outstanding 8

CAMORANESI: Solid rather than spectacular. Switched flanks with Perrotta but less effective on the left and moved back again7

TOTTI (off 61): Massive disappointment.

Barely had a kick 5

TONI: Clear sight of goal blocked out by Thuram. Firm header against the bar and a 'goal' ruled out for a marginal offside 6

DE ROSSI (on 61): Back after his four-match ban but didn't make that much of an impact until he scored in the shoot-out 5

IAQUINTA (on 61): Provided extra pace to Italy's forward thrusts but little overall impact. 5

DEL PIERO (on 87): No telling contribution from Italy's star man but kept his nerve in the shoot-out 6

Not used: Amelia, Barone, Barzagli, Gilardino, Inzaghi, Nesta, Oddo, Peruzzi, Zaccardo.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 10, 2006
Words:336
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