Football: Group G: Italy Ecuador Croatia Mexico; World Cup 2002

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), May 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

Football: Group G: Italy Ecuador Croatia Mexico; World Cup 2002


Mon June 3 (Niigata, Jap) 7.30am Croatia v Mexico BBC

Mon June 3 (Sapporo, Jap) 12.30pm

Italy v Ecuador ITV

Sat June 8 (Ibaraki, Jap) 10am

Italy v Croatia BBC

Sun June 9 (Miyagi, Jap) 7.30am

Mexico v Ecuador BBC

Thu June 13 (Oita, Jap) 12.30pm

Mexico v Italy BBC

Thu June 13 (Yokohama, Jap) 12.30pm

Ecuador v Croatia BBC

ITALY

(5/1 - Get your money on)

Coach: Giovanni Trapattoni

Tactics: Creative going forward and dominant defenders at the back.

Star player: Francesco Totti - a leading contender for the Golden Boot.

Verdict: Eventual winners France sent the Italians out on penalties at the quarter-final stage of France 98, but expect better than that from Trapattoni's men in the Far East.

Also lost on spot-kicks in the 1994 World Cup final, and would be no surprise if they reach the showpiece event next summer.

Waltzed through qualifying, dropping just four points in eight games, and 2002 could be the year Totti and Co bring the silverware back to Rome. Sure-fire semi-finalists, possible winners.

CROATIA

(80/1 - Decent bet)

Coach: Mirko Jozic

Tactics: Solid defence and goals guaranteed up front.

Star player: Robert Prosinecki - inspirational midfielder.

Verdict: The side that was so impressive in France 98 is fading, but the technical ability of every one of their players means Jozic's men could repeat that glorious run to the semi-finals.

Beat Germany 3-0 en route to the last four, when hosts France finally knocked the Croats out. …

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