SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Italy defended the team epee title it won in Atlanta by defeating perennial powerhouse France in the gold medal match Monday night.

Cuba beat Korea to win the bronze medal.

France, which lost the title match 39-38, has won two golds, two silvers and a bronze in the last six Olympics. Starting with the 1980 Moscow Games, France _ the 1996 bronze winners _ only failed to medal at Barcelona in 1992.

Italy entered the final round trailing 38-36, but Alfredo Rota outscored Hugues Obry 3-0 to win the gold. Rota was edged in his two previous rounds _ losing 4-2 in the first round to Eric Srecki and 3-2 in round five to Jean Francois di Martino.

The other members of the Italian team are Maurizio Randazzo and Paolo Milanoli.