Azzurri meet Les Bleus: A history of penalty jinxes

Watch out. This match is another in a long series of grudge matches between these two countries. The storyline is the Italian defence. Yes, the defence that is become Italy’s Achilles heel.
Italy is in a bit of a pickle here with a fast improving Scotland nipping their heels and a Ukraine that is not too far behind. They are looking for a win against France but they do not have history on their side as they have never beaten France without the aid of penalties since 1978. In these 29 years, France has proved to be Italy’s bogey team having beaten them in the 1986 World Cup in the Platini led years and then again in 1998 on their way to their World Cup title.
Two years later it was deja vu again as Italy’s emotional scars deepened further as France completed a remarkable comeback against Dino Zoff’s side, who were seconds from winning Euro 2000 before Sylvain Wiltord’s last-gasp equaliser forced extra time and David Trezeguet poached the Golden Goal.
Roberto Donadoni’s side is going to be under tremendous pressure to deliver the goods. They lost to Hungary, 1-3 in last month’s friendly that could hardly have inspired much confidence. Their much vaunted defense is suddenly proving to be porous and Fabio Cannavarro their heart and soul is proving to be mightily fallible. He had a terrible match against Hungary. Marco Materazzi is out with a thigh injury and Alessandro Nesta has retired from international matches.
So will this banged up and out of form Italian defence stop the likes of Patrick Vieira, Samir Nasri, Thierry Henry, Franck Ribery, and an in form Nicholas Anelka. I think it will be hard to do so.

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