World Cup: Azzurri

Italy 1 France 1 aet

Materazzi 19’ Zidane 7’ pen

Penalties

Pirlo Wiltord
Materazzi Abidal
De Rossi Sagnol
Del Piero
Grosso

Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) crowned a wonderful career with a high and a low, scoring France’s only goal on 7’ with a well-taken penalty and then being sent off after a childish reaction after 111’, head-butting Materazzi in the chest after hearing some equally childish words. No excuse, but this incident is in no way a comment on the career of this excellent player who had been the example of fair play for so many years.

On 19’, Materazzi made up for his challenge on Malouda, which gave France their penalty, with a well-taken header from a corner. 1-1.

Toni came close to scoring after 35’ and 36’, denied brilliantly by Thuram and Barthez, respectively.

Malouda was not given the penalty he deserved after 53’, after his legs were taken out from under him by Zambrotta. After 62’, Toni’s headed goal from a Pirlo free kick was judged offside and the game waited for extra time.

Ribery came close to breaking the deadlock after 100’, shooting centimetres wide and four minutes later, Buffon denied Zidane who sent a brilliant header rocketing towards the Italian goal, to be turned over.

Zidane’s moment of madness after 111’ sent him in tears into the boot room but his brilliant career deserves more than this. For every action there is a reaction and if Zidane’s reaction to the insults of Materazzi was less correct, we have to remember also the many great moments this player brought to the stage of world football. In the end, those who take their penalties well, win the game.

One last word: David Trezeguet’s penalty was one full millimetre from being brilliant.


Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY
PRAVDA.Ru