France ● Road to Victory EURO 2000

David Trezeguet's golden goal won the Euro 2000 final for France and put Roger Lemerre's side in football's history books.

Substitute Trezeguet's goal in the 103rd minute saw the French become the first team to add the European Championship to the World Cup.

It was total heartbreak for Italy, who were leading deep into injury time in Rotterdam's De Kuip stadium until France justified their billing as the best team in the competition with a stunning late comeback.

Trezeguet made it the second European championship in succession to finish with a golden goal - and provided a fitting finale to a compelling tournament.
Italy looked to have secured victory when Alessandro Delvecchio put them ahead early in the second half.

But as the massed ranks of Italian defenders formed in front of goalkeeper Francesco Toldo, substitute Sylvain Wiltord rescued France with an equaliser four minutes into injury time.

Italy coach Dino Zoff, seeking to mastermind Italy's first win over France since the 1978 World Cup, sprang surprises both in selection and tactics.

He dropped the mercurial Alessandro Del Piero along with Filippo Inzaghi, in favour of Roma attacking pair Delvecchio and Francesco Totti.

And Italy shocked the French by casting off the cloak of defence that marked their semi-final victory against Holland to open in attacking fashion.

Italy forced two early corners and Totti should have scored after only three minutes, heading wastefully wide from Stefano Fiore's corner.

Acute angle

Zinedine Zidane was skillfully shadowed by Demetrio Albertini, and it was Arsenal's Thierry Henry who posed the main questions of the Italian defence.

Henry struck the foot of Toldo's left hand post in the fifth minute from an acute angle.

And his pace forced Luigi Di Biaggio and Fabio Cannavaro into challenges that earned yellow cards from Swedish referee Anders Frisk.

Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly was fortunate to escape a red card when he elbowed Cannavaro on the blind side of referee Frisk at a free kick on the stroke of half time.

France were restricted to half chances as they found themselves victims of more resolute Italian defending in a first half of frustration for the world champions.

Henry was always the main source of French danger, and he almost created a goal for Zidane four minutes after half time.

He left a trail of Italian defenders in his wake before flashing a centre across the face of goal, which Zidane touched but could not turn in.

It was enough to force Zoff into a change, replacing Fiore with Del Piero in the 52nd minute.

Instant rewards

And it reaped instant rewards as Italy took the lead three minutes later with a brilliantly fashioned goal from Delvecchio.

Totti's backheel released Pessotto on the right flank, and his cross was met with a left footed finish from Delvecchio from six yards, shooting high past Barthez.

Del Piero squandered a glorious chance to give Italy a two-goal cushion three minutes later when he was put clear by Totti, but pulled his finish hopelessly wide.

France immediately made a substitution of their own, with the struggling Dugarry withdrawn in place of Wiltord, and he was on target almost instantly, but saw a close range shot blocked by Italian goalkeeper Francesco Toldo.

Henry was still France's best hope, and Toldo came to the rescue again when plunged bravely at his feet after 68 minutes.

But Del Piero was the villain once again five minutes from time, shooting straight at Barthez when it seemed easier to score.

And he paid a heavy price in the fourth minute of injury time, when Wiltord flashed a finish across Toldo to spark scenes of wild celebration on the French bench.

It took the game into the sudden death golden goal scenario, and Toldo made a brilliant save from French substitute Robert Pires four minutes into extra time, sustaining a bloody nose in the process.

But France completed the comeback when Pires found Trezeguet, who rifled a brilliant left foot finish high past Toldo.

France: Barthez, Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu (substitute Pires 85), Djorkaeff substitute Trezeguet 75), Vieira, Deschamps, Zidane, Dugarry (substitute Wiltord 57), Henry.

Italy: Toldo, Cannavaro, Nesta, Iuliano, Maldini, Pessotto, Di Biagio (substitute Ambrosini 65), Albertini, Fiore (substitute Del Piero 52), Delvecchio (substitute Montella 85), Totti.

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden.)
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