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Updated Thursday July 13, 2000, 10:00 PM GMT
Alessandro Nesta

Position:
Defender
Nesta

(AlexLivesey/Allsport)

Shirt No: 13
Age: 24
Caps: 32
Goals: 0
Club: Lazio

Profile:

It was no surprise that Nesta and his felow defenders held firm against France for so long in the Final, but in the end that fabled Italian defence was not strong enough to cope with French passion and skill.

Resolute as ever against a troublesome Belgian attack and Romania's Mutu and Moldovan.

Recovered from a torrid time against Sukur in the Turkey match where he did not look his usual composed self. Weathered the storm, and opponents don't come tougher than Sukur. Substitute against Sweden.

He may only be 24, but Nesta has established himself as one of the top defenders in Serie A and the world.

He can be expected to partner Cannavaro in a likely two-man central defence. His strengths lie in his pace, stamina and ability to mark an opponent out of a game.

A ruptured knee ligament caused him to miss the World Cup in France and he was linked with a move to Atletico Madrid last summer.

He has been with Lazio since the age of 12 and is regarded as the best young defender in Italy.

An opinion reinforced by his tremendous rearguard performance against the Dutch in the semi-final. Must be a contender for defender of the tournament.

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