So, on to our contenders. From Italy, the women's vocal group Faraualla (Cristina Palmiotta, Gabriella Schiavone, Maristella Schiavone, and Teresa Vallarella). Their self-titled 2001 album features songs from several European traditions, plus modern bits (including "Fescenne," which is based on "Furahi" by Zap Mama's Marie Daulne).
From France, we have the DJ known as Dmitri from Paris. A deep admirer of classic disco and old-school dance genres, Dimitri began his training as a DJ by spinning U.S. 12-inch imports and soon became a pioneer of what would soon be called "bedroom culture." Don't know what he's up to these days; this selection is from a 1998 album subtitled "Viva la France, viva Monsieur Dmitri!"
[mp3] Faraualla: "
from the album Faraualla
[mp3] Dmitri from Paris: "
from the album Sacrebleu
Honestly, I have to say I never would have picked these two teams for the final, given their spotty play in the early rounds of the Cup. But a little luck here, a great play there, and suddenly a mediocre team finds themselves winning their way to glory. My logical side is behind Italy, whose victory would make the US draw with them (while playing with only 9 men) all the more impressive (admittedly, perhaps the only impressive thing about the US appearance...). But my heart is available to the team that shows the best play with the least play-acting.