World Cup: It's Italy after Zidane disgraces himself

, posted: 10-Jul-2006 08:47

France no moreThe Italians are the 2006 World Cup champions, Gli Azzurri's fourth title in their sixth final. The game stood at 1-1 after 2 x 15 minutes extra time, and went to penalty shoot out. The Italians put all their penalty kicks past Barthez, but Trezeguet missed his for France, and that was that: 5-3 to Italy.

It was really good game, probably one of the best WC finals ever until 109 minutes when Zidane disgraced himself by headbutting Materazzi in the chest. Zidane came close to heading in 2-1 to France earlier, but lost in in extra time and got sent out. What the hell was he thinking? The last game of his career, a crucial moment for France and Zidane, the captain, commits a stupid act of aggression - Materazzi clung on to him and maybe provoked Zidane, but there was no excuse. The red card was well deserved. Zidane was a certain candidate for the player of the tournament but... not now. What an incredibly foolish thing to do. He could not have ended his career in a worse manner had he tried. Zidane Headbutts

With Zidane off the pitch, a ten-man France had nothing more to offer. Henry, Vieria, and Ribery had all been substituted and their replacements just weren't up to it. In fact, Diarra got a yellow card soon after coming on and looked like a candidate for second plus a sending off after playing too rough.

It's a real shame that the final ended this way. The Italians ended up as the worthy winners, moreso because they didn't lose their cool and played as a team until the end. Del Piero tried a bit of diving though but didn't get anywhere - ref Elizondo from Argentina was very good overall. Terrible shame though that the final, which had pretty clean, turned so ugly at the last moment.

Bravo Italia. There will be major parties all over the country tonight... should go and look at Symonds St to see if the Italian contingent in Auckland is celebrating the title over at Gina's. The Italian players and the spectators in Berlin stadium are ecstatic.

Update: Small picture gallery over at the New Zealand Herald (site may be slow to load of non-NZ viewers though).

Update II: Clip of Zidane's headbutt:

and an odd tribute to Materazzi:
Zidane's penalty conversion Materazzi's equaliser Update III Time Europe has an interesting take on what happened. I was thinking earlier that Zizou must headbutt like a bull to be able to knock down Materazzi like that, but Time says that's not quite what happened. Still, Zidane's fault for handing it to Materazzi like that. Zidane's Headshot

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