Sunday, 9th July
Zizou Zidane Zees Ze Red
Italy vs France
Recent games between Italy and France have been close. France won the Euro 2000 Final (2:1
aet) by scoring the Golden Goal. In the quarter-finals of France 98 France beat Italy on penalties (4:3) after
the game ended in a draw (0:0 aet).
In friendly matches, France and Italy drew their 1997 meeting in Paris
(2:2) and Italy lost the 1994 game in Naples (0:1).
Other World Cup meetings occured in Mexico 1986, where France won the Second Round game
(2:0); Argentina 1978, where Italy beat France
in the Group Stage (2:1); and France 1938, where
Italy won the quarter-final match (3:1).
The 2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France; the final stage for Zinedine Zidane to
draw the curtain of his illustrious playing career on as Fabio Cannavaro makes his 100th
appearance for Italy.
Italy, all in blue, kicked off from left to right. 'Les Bleus',
France, were once again 'Les Blancs.
Thierry Henry ran into Fabio Cannavaro in the first minute and it
didn't look too good; especially with Louis Saha suspended.
The Arsenal striker was waved back onto the field of play by Horatio
Elizondo in the fourth minute.
Gianluca Zambrotta was booked in the fifth minute for a challenge on
In the next minute, Marco Materazzi 'dubiously' gave away a penalty;
actually pulling out of the challenge on Florent Malouda, but as the Italian came across
the box so fast, the Argentinean referee was blided in the heat of the situation.
Zinedine Zidane vs Gianluigi Buffon; the former Juventus star vs the
current Juventus keeper.
Buffon dived in the direction of Zidane's penalty against Portugal, in
the semi-final. Zidane put it the other way and lifted the ball high. So high it hit the
bar and came back into the field of play. Luckily, for France, the ball clearly bounced
behind the goal-line before bouncing back up onto the bar and out. Goal given. Buffon
watched it all over his shoulder; the first one scored against Italy in the 2006 World
Cup, except for an own-goal.
Willy Sagnol became the second player to earn a booking, with only
twelve minutes played.
Andrea Pirlo's dangerous 14th minute free-kick was headed away for a
corner by Lilian Thuram; who dived in at the near post to cover for Fabien Barthez'
Marco Materazzi then made amends for giving away the penalty, by
leaping high above Patrick Vieira; to head in a curling, dipping corner from the right.
Materazzi earned himself another free header at the next Italian
corner but cleared away before the ball could cross the line; although the whistle
was blown for an infringement.
Lilian Thuram made a crucial tackle at the feet of Luca Toni, ten
minutes before half-time; for a corner. Again France were having problems with Andrea
Pirlo's corners from the right; as Luca Toni headed the ball onto the bar.
A sluggish start to the second-half.
While everyone waited for Zinedine Zidane to start getting the better
of Gennaro Gattuso, in their little midfield battles, it was Patrick Vieira who poked the
ball through to Thierry Henry. The Arsenal forward dazzled and danced, turned and jinked
his way through four defenders, in the Italian penalty area; only to see his eventual
cross cut out.
Patrick Vieira then appeared to pull up with a strained hamstring and
had to be replaced by Alou Diarra. The official on the touchline put the wrong number into
the board and number three, Eric Abidal looked slightly confused.
Italy made a double substitution, just after the hour, and as soon as
play resumed, the ball was in the back of the French net; from Andrea Pirlo's free-kick.
The linesman had his flag up for offside but Luca Toni, the player
heading the ball didn't appear to be the one in the offside position when the ball was
played and the original offside player was behind Toni before he knocked the ball in.
Lucky escape for France.
The game then entered the stage where the midfield became crowded and
long, desperate clearances became the order of the day; as neither team wished risking a
Then, with ten minutes left of normal time left, Zinedine Zidane
signalled to the bench that he had a problem with his shoulder; after a tussle with his
opposite captain saw him land awkwardly.
Relief for the French, as the scare was minor and Zidane returned to
the field of play; the curtain not yet drawn on his final stage.
Italy made their third transfer, with four minutes to go; while
Raymond Domenech still had two options left open for him, to use in extra-time.
In the second minute of injury-time, Eric Abidal and Franck Ribery
managed to work their way down the left an into the penalty area. Ribery chipped the ball
up but the only shirts there were the blue ones of the Italians.
France need to connect a little more as a team rather than expect a
flash of brilliance from either Thierry Henry of Zinedine Zidane. Football is a team game
and while individual skills are great to watch it helps if the star performer has
With both teams starting to tire and almost walking, Franck Ribery
came close to giving the France the lead. Then he was taken off; with David Trezeguet
The second chance again fell to France as Willy Sagnol's right-wing
cross was connected to, by Zidane's head.... palmed over by Buffon; who then punched away
the resulting corner.
In the second period of extra-time, Sylvain Wiltord came on for
Thierry Henry. All cards now been played by both managers. Soon it will be down to the
Drama as Marco Materazzi walked alongside Zinedine Zidane and
obviously said something to him. The French captain turned around and headed Materazzi in
After much discussion, the referee who sent off Wayne Rooney against
Portugal returned to the field of play and showed Zidane the red card. The French fans
booed but the decision was correct. The question really is, if the referee and linesman
didn't see the butting how did they come to the conclusion. Player power again or was the
television replay used?
Raymond Domenech kicked a water bottle away in disgust, at all the
commotion that continued to spoil the closing stages of the 2006 World Cup final.
The only consultation of this being Zidane's final fling, is that he
won't serve any suspension. He might not be allowed to collect a medal though.
After Extra Time
0:1 Zinedine Zidane (7pen)
1:1 Marco Materazzi (19)
Fabien Barthez and Gianluigi Buffon
Italy: Andrea Pirlo - Scored; down the middle.
France: Sylvain Wiltord - Scored; Buffon wrong way.
Italy: Marco Materazzi - Scored, powered past Barthez.
France: David Trezeguet - Hit the underside of the bar, no Zidane bounce.
Italy: Daniele De Rossi - Scored; top corner.
France: Eric Abidal - Scored; sent Buffon wrong way.
Italy: Alessandro Del Piero - Scored.
France: Willy Sagnol - Scored; sent Buffon wrong way.
Italy: Fabio Grosso - Scored; wins the World Cup for Italy.
Italy are the new World Champions for the 4th time.
Italy: (Captain Fabio Cannavaro)
1 Gianluigi Buffon; 3 Fabio Grosso, 5 Fabio Cannavaro, 19 Gianluca
Zambrotta, 23 Marco Materazzi; 8 Gennaro Gattuso, 10 Francesco Totti,
16 Mauro Camoranesi, 20 Simone Perrotta, 21 Andrea Pirlo; 9 Luca Toni.
France: (Captain Zinedine
16 Fabien Barthez; 3 Eric Abidal, 5 William Gallas, 19 Willy Sagnol, 15 Lilian Thuram; 4
Patrick Vieira, 6 Claude Makelele, 7 Florent Malouda, 10 Zinedine Zidane, 22 Franck
Ribery; 12 Thierry Henry.
Referee: Horatio Elizondo
56 Mins (France) - 18 Alou Diarra on for 4 Patrick Vieira
61 Mins (Italy) - 4 Daniele De Rossi on for 20 Simone Perrotta
61 Mins (Italy) - 15 Vincenzo Iaquinta on for 10 Francesco Totti
86 Mins (Italy) - 7 Alessandro Del Piero on for 16 Mauro Camoranesi
100 Mins (France) - 20 David Trezeguet on for 22 Franck Ribery
107 Mins (France) - 11 Sylvain Wiltord on for 12 Thierry Henry
5 Mins - Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)
12 Mins - Willy Sagnol (France)
76 Mins - Alou Diarra (France)
111 Mins - Florent Malouda (France)
1 Red Card:
110 Mins - Zinedine Zidane (France)
2006 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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