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Posted on 8 July 2006  - 12:00

Lane legend Steffen Freund gives us the lowdown from the World Cup as the hosts prepare for a Germany-less final on Sunday...

Lane legend Steffen Freund gives us the lowdown from the World Cup as the hosts prepare for a Germany-less final on Sunday...

The midfielder played 131 times for us between 1999-2003 and was a member of the Germany squad that won Euro 96 in England. He also won the European Cup with Borussia Dortmund.

The fans favourite has been reporting from his home nation throughout the tournament and here looks at Sunday's final and Saturday's third/fourth place play-off...

Third/fourth place play-off, Germany v Portugal (Stuttgart, Saturday, 8pm): I think Germany will be determined to put on a good show in their last game of the tournament. There will be a few changes in personnel and positions – for instance, Ballack and Mertesacker are out and I think Khan will start - but I think they are strong enough to beat Portugal.

Germany will still try to score goals and I’m sure Portugal will as well in this game. They haven’t been that exciting to watch and that’s been a surprise but it has been a fantastic tournament for Figo and this will be a great way to go out for him. Germany to win though.

Final, Italy v France (Berlin, Sunday, 7pm): I said Italy were my favourites to win the tournament after the first group matches and the reasons why then are the same reasons they can win the final now. They are so strong defensively – everyone knows that – but they have the players to turn games and maybe the way they have played attacking football has been a surprise to people.

For me, they will win it because of that individual class, the likes of Del Piero, Laquinta, Toni, Totti, Gilardino and Pirlo have been fantastic. Just look at the semi-final against Germay, extra-time and Lippi was prepared to put the forwards on and try and win the game. Other managers simply wouldn’t do that – remember England up against 10 men Brazil in 2002 – but Lippi is the type of manager that wins the World Cup.

Okay, everyone here was disappointed after the semi-final but I have to say Italy deserved to beat Germany. The defence restricted Germany to three good chances whereas Italy had at least the same and hit the woodwork twice. Italy were always the type of team Germany would struggle against and it proved to be.

France played very well to get past Brazil in the quarter-final and the semi-final against Portugal looked open as well but as soon as France scored, they defended, although I have to say they defended well. They will probably start with one up front again in Henry and they will be solid as a team. They have improved as the tournament has progressed and this could be a tactical final. I just think Italy’s ability to score will see them home.