The final match of the French Cup competition in its 105th edition, Saturday, brings together the two teams of Nice and Nantes as they seek to reconcile again with the titles absent from them for more than 20 years.
The final, led by a wisdom, will be held for the first time in the history of the competition in the “Stade de France” in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, in front of full stands, after liberation from restrictions and strict procedures related to the Corona virus, for the first time since 2019, where it is expected that approximately 80 matches will accompany the match. A thousand spectators.
The two teams tied in the record of victories, winning the title 3 times each, winning Nice in 1952, 1954 and 1997, and Nantes in 1979, 1999 and 2000.
Nice enters the meeting as a strong candidate to win thanks to its good results this season in the league, as it occupies fifth place and is still in the race for a place in the Champions League.
Nice reached the final after he succeeded in stripping Paris Saint-Germain, recently crowned champion for the tenth time in its history, of its title in the final price round by defeating it 6-5 on penalties, after they tied negatively in the final price, to return and eliminate Marseille 4-1 in the quarter-finals Second division Versailles 2-0 in the Golden Square.
The capital club has won the competition title 6 times in the last seven years, knowing that it has reached all finals since 2014.
Nice is playing its first final since losing the 2006 League Cup final to Nancy 1-2, while penalty kicks smiled at him during his last consecration in the 1997 French Cup, defeating Guingamp 4-3 after they tied 1-1 in the original and extra time.
“We want to give them this happiness and this pride by winning the Cup,” said Nice captain, 38-year-old veteran Brazilian Dante.
Nice relies on its planet of young attackers in the form of Amin Guiri and Dutch Justin Kluivert (22 years each), in addition to the 30-year-old experience of Algerian striker Andy Delors.
Nice coach Christophe Galtier, who arrived at the club last season after leading Lille to the league title, injected into the team’s arteries the defensive DNA that marked their successes with Saint-Etienne and Lille.
Nice’s identity has also changed a lot since the last generation with Bruno Vallconi and Frederic Gurría won the title 25 years ago, after the chemical giant Ineos acquired its British billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe in 2019.
Ratcliffe hopes to make Nice a competitive side on the European stage, although his recent bid for Chelsea has raised some doubts about his involvement with the French club.
Last week, Galtier said he was proud to be in the final, saying: “It’s very exciting to be in the final.
For his part, Nantes, in turn, is gasping for a first title since winning the league title in 2001, knowing that he is playing his first final since losing the League Cup final in 2004 to Bordeaux 4-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Nantes’ successful campaign in the Cup, after eliminating Monaco from the semi-finals on penalties 4-2 after a 2-2 draw, recalled the era of the club’s brilliance crowned with the League title 8 times, the last of which was in 2001, reaching the semi-finals of the 1996 Champions League and its recent dedication to the Cup on Calais club account from amateurs 2-1.
The “Canary” team seeks to reconcile with its past glories under the supervision of its former player and current coach, Antoine Compoire (1983-1990).
The contract with Compoire came at the beginning of 2021 with the aim of avoiding relegation to the second division, but the latter succeeded in restoring the spirit of the team and forgetting the difficult times, meager results and the charged atmosphere among the fans and Polish billionaire President Waldemar Keita.
When we realize what we went through last season, we really have to measure our luck, said Compoire, in an attempt to relieve the pressure on his team, adding: We need to reduce the importance of the occasion as much as possible.
And he added: It is a final, it is an exceptional moment, but what are we risking? We are safe in Ligue 1 and the best case scenario is to win and celebrate. Otherwise, we lose and advance.
Similar to Nice, Compare relies on the youth element in the person of striker Randall Kolo Mwani, who is preparing to move to Eintracht Frankfurt this summer, and goalkeeper Alban Lafont.
Midfielder Whelan Cibrian sent a message to his colleagues, saying: We have to play a big game, give our lives inside the green rectangle.
If he wins, the “Canary” team, which is ranked ninth in the league, can return to participate in a European competition, specifically the “European League”, for the first time since 2004.
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