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Italy wins on penalties

Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup on penalties and I think they deserved it on the strength of their performance throughout the tournament. I thought France did enough to win this World Cup in regulation time but they just couldn't break down Italy's defence well marshalled by their captain Fabio Cannavaro. France dominated the game especially from the second half onwards but they couldn't get that vital second goal and Italy depended on their illustrious defending and sporadic counter attacks and set-pieces to force the match into penalties.

The talking point in this World Cup final will however, be always about the sending off of Zidane in extra time. In Zinedine Zidane's last match before retiring from football that wasn't the best way to say farewell but he did enough in the final to show why he is regarded one of the best footballers ever. Before the sending off I reckon the major talking points would have been the foul that led to France's penalty and Italy's disallowed second half goal.

Its unfortunate that David Trezeguet is the one who missed a penalty for France because when more that one player misses it doesn't look that bad. Trezeguet's penalty was so similar to the one Zidane scored in normal play but the difference is that his didn't cross the line. For Italy it was fitting that Fabio Grosso scored the winning penalty. He has been a revelation for Italy and has had a very good tournament. For me Grosso and Germany's Philip Lahm were the best left backs in the tournament.

From the way Italy played after their equaliser and more so in the second half I could tell that these guys were not so concerned by penalties the way they were against Germany in the semis and when it came time to take them you could see that they had practised penalties very well and I think the whole team could have scored if that was needed.

So for a change Italy triumph on penalties in a World Cup.

Congrats Italy. Zidane is an experienced player. His behaviour was just not on.

Congrats to Italy. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, i would like to say most people are judging Zinedine rather too harshly. What drove him to act in the way he did?

It does not matter how Professional and experienced one is, at times the level of provocation just goes beyond the line where one can control himself/herself. The Zinedine incident is one such case. Looking at the video one can see Zinedine and Materazzi exchanging some words and as Zinedine retreats Materazzi utters words which can only be very "nasty" judging by the spontaneous reaction they produced.

An incident that readily comes to mind is that of George Weah who head butted another player a few years ago after being racially abused. George Weah was a decent, professional and experienced player but lets face it a human being at times loses the plot depending on the amount of emotional pressure exerted and Zinedine is no different.

Whilst i don't condone what happened and i feel Zinedine should have "tried" to react differently, the bottom line is that an experienced player is still a human being who suffers emotional stress just like all of us.

I have an issue with the award of the Golden Boot award to Zidane. Head-butt aside, he has had a good tournament but Cannavaro has had an even better tournament. Cannavaro played in all Italy's matches, lost his centre back partner Nesta and still played well, twice Italy played with ten men and still he shone despite the added pressure on defence. So why can't he get the award?
Zidane missed the Togo match due to suspension, substituted against South Korea and then played two very good matches against Spain and Brazil. Cannavaro never missed a minute due to suspension or otherwise and he is the clear winner. Those journalists got it all wrong.

My issue Martin is not about whether Zidane played well or not, I just donít think awarding a Golden Boot to Zidane after the head-butt doesn't send the right message to the millions of people playing the sport. I suspect the choice is made before the final (like the best young player) and hence whatever happens in the final wouldn't count but I think if the award is given after the final then it should consider what happens in the final as well especially serious disciplinary issues. The rules must be changed so that players who commit serious fouls during the tournament wouldn't be considered for the award at all however well they play. That would have ruled out Italy's Daniele De Rossi as well. Discipline is part and parcel of football, I think.

I agree with you Admire that there has been possibly an over-reaction to the head-butt without considering what Marco Materazzi said. Yes, but whatever Materazzi said this was the World Cup final we are talking about and the millions of people watching the match wouldn't have heard what Materazzi said. ZZ should have restrained himself and possibly report Materazzi later on after the match, too hard I know but there were only eleven minutes to go and with France in the driving seat. The fact that ZZ was retiring means he has been in the game for a long time and should have known better. Having said that, I think FIFA should allow for a mechanism whereby players can report provocative incidents to the referee because without such a mechanism some players are going take the law into their own hands and cameras are not always going to be there.

I think all teams played badly during the World Cup , in the end it didnt really matter who won.Could have something to do with the long League season and having star players with fatigue.

It will be interesting to see if a rematch will actually ensue with the final. Technically, it seems (I've only discovered this now), that the decision to send him off was because of the 4th umpire who in fact uses video evidence - unlike the linesmen and the ref (all of whom totally missed this incident?).
If this is the case, a French lawyer is citing inconsitent refereeing and in fact, a breach of FIFA rules, that currently do NOT allow video evidence during a game.
Is all this correct? If so, that's a serious inconsitency that might give the case for a rematch some credibility.

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