By Josh Staph
The French National Team lost a fiercely fought '06 World Cup Final to Italy. The defeat was painful to accept, but the team's showing was quite impressive, especially considering that they struggled just to qualify.
Heading into the tournament, head coach Raymond Domenech devised a way to attack the team's fitness woes and bonding issues. He arranged for his players to spend five days in the French Alps with their families, but by no means was this a ski vacation. The athletes spent much of the time hiking the 3,600 meters to the top of the massive, snow-covered Grande Motte glacier. When they returned to flat ground, the team was tighter and fitter than ever.
At a press conference leading up to the Cup, international star and World Cup MVP Zinedine Zidane said, "I think that we are far better physically than in 2004." Zidane was right, as he and his teammates outlasted every team in the world except the mighty Azzure.
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