Tardelli: France have always caused us problems
Marco Tardelli, one of Italy's heroes of Spain 82, sat down with FIFAworldcup.com to give his thoughts on Sunday's FIFA World Cup Final.
FIFAworldcup.com: What do you remember about the Italy-France game at Argentina 1978?
Marco Tardelli: It was a difficult game for us. France were a tough side with some excellent players like (Michel) Platini and (Didier) Six. We won 2-1 because we were more experienced. We knew how to withstand the pressure of a major international tournament. Their squad was very good, however, and they played very nice football. They showed what they could do four years later in Spain.
Can you tell us anything about the game Italy lost 2-0 to France at Mexico 86?
I remember that one differently because I didn't play. That's when our losing run against France started (including losses at France 98 and UEFA EURO 2000). So I've never actually lost to them!
What are your thoughts ahead of Sunday's Final?
I think Italy have been very good, especially in their last couple of games. I had my doubts at the start of the tournament, partly because our group opponents were not the strongest. The semi-final performance against Germany showed that the squad is in very good shape both physically and mentally.
Read about the history between France and Italy
How much does a losing streak count when you play against a big rival?
Italy have a very good record against Germany and we managed to keep it up. Let's hope the trend is reversed in the game against France. I have to admit, though, that France have always caused us problems. Even before the bad run began at Mexico 86, I can remember a couple of friendlies in Naples and Paris which were very tough for us (Italy drew 2-2 with France in Naples in February 1978 and then lost 2-0 in Paris in February 1982).
Do you think those French players with Serie A experience will approach Sunday's game any differently?
No, I don't think so. Maybe (Zinedine) Zidane will be keener than most to leave his mark, given that it's his last ever game. The World Cup Final is big enough motivation itself. There's no need for anything else, everyone will give their all because the Final is the Final.
Is there anyone in the current Italy squad that reminds you of yourself when you were playing?
I think football has changed so much in terms of tactics, speed and training methods that comparisons between footballers of yesterday and today are worthless. I remember I always used to man-mark Platini whenever we played France and I always used to kick him as well (smiles). That would never happen today. (Gennaro) Gattuso isn't going to man-mark Zidane because that type of marking, and indeed player, are no longer around today.
A final thought: what do you think of Dominique Rocheteau?
I've never played against him and even If I had we would've patrolled different areas of the pitch. He was a very good player in a very good side.
Read Dominique Rocheteau's thoughts on the Final