Sunday July 15 2018
Materazzi: 'Croatia like Italy 2006'

Marco Materazzi praised Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic, as he believes Croatia “have something of Italy in 2006” ahead of the World Cup Final against France.

The most famous moment in Matrix’s career saw him being headbutted in the chest by Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup Final.

Until today, that was also the last time Les Bleus had been in a World Cup Final.

“I have no doubts, as I am cheering on the Inter players,” Materazzi told La Gazzetta dello Sport, referring to Croatians Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic.

“I do like France and consider them the favourites to lift the trophy. Croatia are a surprise only for those who had never seen them play.

“I can see something of Italy in 2006 in this Croatia side: they have quality and heart. You don’t win in extra time for three games in a row and come back to defeat England unless you have these fundamental characteristics.

“Don’t think that the Croats will arrive running on empty, because victories give you a huge boost. It’s defeats that depress you…

“The Interisti, Perisic and Brozovic, are in fantastic shape and had an excellent World Cup. Just look at the way Croatia play – the ball always goes through the feet of Brozo.

“I’m going to say it ends 2-1 with the two Inter players on target for Croatia.”

Materazzi also tipped Croatia for the Ballon d’Or, but doubts it will actually happen.

“Modric deserves the Ballon d’Or, but he can only win it if certain dynamics change at France Football. In 2006 I scored a goal in the Final of a World Cup we won and I wasn’t even in the top 50. Willy Sagnol, however, was.

“The next season, I scored 10 goals as a defender with Inter and was again left out. Even someone like Wesley Sneijder didn’t win the trophy at his peak, so it means little.”

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