Italian captain of the 2006 FIFA World Cup winning team Fabio Cannavaro presents the World Cup on the pitch ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
His thoughts prior to the final:
"The final will be really emotional because we're going to hand over the trophy that we've cherished for the last four years," Cannavaro told FIFA's website. "It's a new final, a first, between two teams that have never won the World Cup before. Both sides go into the game in good form, they're enjoying themselves and entertaining the fans, so I think it's a deserved final and I hope it's a great game of football."
Cannavaro said his allegiances would be split between the teams of many past club team-mates, particularly those in the Spanish squad from his days at Real Madrid. He admitted his 2006 triumph was still fresh in the mind and said that despite seeing a newcomer take the prize this year, Italy's pedigree should see them back near the top of the pile soon enough after their disastrous 2010 campaign.
"That was a different game (to the 2010 final) because both teams were used to reaching finals and had a lot of pedigree behind them. I can remember everything, from the first minute to the last, and I still look back with great pleasure. I don't think I'll ever forget it and I can't help but get emotional every time I think about what happened four years ago.
"You can't win all the time. There are always cycles in football though it's true it was a real shame to have gone out in the first round as defending champions. We now have to start again under a new coach, because Euro 2012 qualifying is just around the corner. I'm hopeful that, one step at a time, we'll move towards becoming the best team in the world again. That's because, traditionally, Italy have always been at the top of the tree."