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July 10, 2006



The BBC has even employed a *lip-reader* to decipher what Materazzi said to Zidane. (Can't find the link now, sorry. It's on the BBC Sports site.) I think what Materazzi said was beside the point. If it was a racist insult, shame on him. Still, headbutting shouldn't have been the response. Zidane could have walked off the pitch in protest, or better, gone on and won the game.

Besides, this is not the first time he has done it. He even stomped on a Saudi player once (surely not over race issues).

I cheered for the Azzurris, I will admit. Kawawa naman, e: corruption scandal at home, Berlusconi to be tried for fraud, etc.
But I would have preferred to watch a Brazil-Argentina showdown, mainly because I can't relate to these European tribal pissing contests. ;-)


No team really stood out did it? Still, if I had to chose, my preferred final would have been Argentina-Ghana, that would have been terrific.

As for the headbut, it was interesting how all the Zidane lovers immediately put out that he had been racially insulted, without any evidence whatsoever. Even now, claims that Materazzi called Zidane a "terrorist" are still circulating. Here is an example:

Paris-based anti-racism group, SOS-Racism, had earlier said that "several very well informed sources" suggested Zidane was called a "dirty terrorist".

That's a ridiculous comment if the group are not prepared to name their "very well informed sources". There's enough racism in football without conjuring it up.

What the lip reader claims Materazzi said was: "I wish an ugly death to you and all your family," and then "go fuck yourself". That's not very nice to be sure, but footballers must have to put up with this sort of thing every day.

Actually, I'm very grateful to Zizou for his psycho moment as it livened up a dull end to the game and has given all us recovering Worldcupaholics something to chew over.


See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,28810-2266124,00.html for the most hilarious--and sensible--analysis of the Zizou tantrum.

"...The various translations doing the rounds contest that Materazzi insulted Zidane’s mother, sister, wife and family, plus the late coach Jean Varraud, of AS Cannes, and the Muslim religion, covering issues as wide-ranging as terrorism, prostitution, incest and sexual preference. An ugly death to all and sundry may also have been part of the deal. If true, this really was a tour de force of verbal confrontation, the vehemence of which would turn Jerry Sadowitz green, considering Materazzi only had two sentences to go at it... )"


One thing's for sure, torn: It has alleviated the post-World Cup hangover quite well. Although it was really a pity to see the Italians win - sure, they were a strong side and tactically just great (4 strikers in semi-final overtime as a case in point), but Grosso's dive against Australia just showed much of the team's character... Wigan


Wigan -- I have to disagree with you there. There was diving all over the place, not just by Italy. What about the penalty in the final? Or Thierry Henry against Spain?

Although there were things I liked about Italy -- the brave tactics against Germany, as you say, and the way they always played as a team -- they played quite negative football which made them appropriate winners for a tournament full of teams scared of losing rather than trying to win.

England were unbelievably bad I thought, for which I blame Eriksson. He was far too close to the players (anyone could see that Gerrard and Lampard did not gel and that one would have to be dropped), he dithered over tactics, and his motivational skills were zero. The 25 million pounds he took off the Football Association for his five trophyless years in charge is one of the biggest con jobs of all time!

Did you go to any of the games?


I still didn't like the Italian side, but that might be because they now have one star more than Germany... And I disagree with the penalty in the final - a clear foul against who was it, Malouda? Diving was quite prevalent - it was good that Michael Ballack did not reach the penalty zone too often, because he, too, is quite prone to falling. The title for diver of the tournament goes to Cristiano Ronaldo, that's for sure. Talking about Ronaldo, I actually got to go to two games: England - Portugal in Gelsenkirchen and Germany - Argentina home in Berlin. It was great to see two quarter-finals, although the Germany - Argentina was by far the more exciting match. It's always astonishing how many details you miss when you actually watch a live game: I missed the sending off of Wayne Rooney and therefore wondered why Beckham threw such a tantrum on the bench...

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