France became the first team to win the UEFA European Championship as world champions as David Trezeguet came off the bench to score a golden goal.
It left Italy crestfallen having been seconds from winning the contest in normal time, leading through Marco Delvecchio's second-half strike before Sylvain Wiltord's last-gasp effort forced extra time. Trezeguet did the rest.
The final had got off to a similarly frenetic start. France almost took the lead when Thierry Henry's hooked shot came back off the post and Youri Djorkaeff had headed just wide from a corner before Italy came to life, Demetrio Albertini curling a free-kick narrowly over the bar. The game was still only 15 minutes old.
Both sides settled and the Bleus came desperately close to breaking through six minutes before the interval. The livewire Henry weaved into the penalty area and drove the ball goalwards, Djorkaeff seized possession and turned to fire in a low shot but Toldo made a fine point-blank stop.
Within seconds of Alessandro Del Piero's second-half introduction Italy came close themselves, as Laurent Blanc was forced to head desperately behind from a dangerous Paolo Maldini cross.
Finally, on 55 minutes, the deadlock was broken. Francesco Totti's back-heel released Gianluca Pessotto down the right and his cross eluded Marcel Desailly, allowing Delvecchio to volley in from point-blank range. Italy should have doubled that advantage six minutes later when Totti sent Del Piero clear, but the Juventus forward pulled his shot across goal.
At the other end France were struggling to find a way past the brilliant Toldo, who denied Wiltord and Henry as Zidane began to weave his creative magic. Yet despite the introduction of a third striker – Trezeguet – Roger Lemerre's side seemed destined for defeat, until Wiltord broke free on the left of the penalty area in injury time to send a low drive squirming past Toldo.
France, buoyed by their late reprieve, began extra time on the offensive, Zidane having a shot deflected wide from a Robert Pirès cross. And the Arsenal FC-bound winger was the source for the winner, tricking his way down the left before pulling the ball back for Trezeguet to crash a first-time shot into the roof of the net. With the French fans exultant, Didier Deschamps lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup.