Then the Dutch dream went up in smoke. After slamming Yugoslavia 6-1 in the quarters, Holland choked in last Thursday's scoreless semifinal against Italy, failing to convert two penalty kicks in regular time and botching three more in the tiebreaking shootout. Within minutes of Italy's victory, Rijkaard resigned as coach. "I failed," he said, "and I have to take the consequences."
In Sunday's thrilling final, even stodgy Italy decided to engage in an up-and-down battle with France. As the Azzurri nursed a 1-0 lead into the final minute of injury time, their subs rose from the bench and—certain they would soon be the new European champions—saluted their fans. But when Wiltord raced down the left side and sent a miraculous bullet into the net, Tr�z�guet's game-winner was almost a fait accompli. After the match ended, golden confetti rained down, and a delirious French fan raised a sign that spoke for a nation: ENCORE!