Many predicted

Zidane headbutts Materazzi - Zidane's wonder goal versus Bayer Leverkusen in the UCL 2002


Not many predicted a France v Italy final but it seems most thought the outcome would be very tight and more than likely penalties, with two of the best defensive units of the tournament on show.

This along with the lack of any decent striker proved most right, as Italy won 5-3 in the shootout. Not the best game by far, pretty typical of the knockout stage in this World Cup, in which bar the Mexico v Argentina & Germany v Italy the games were not great but tight & tense affairs.

The only real highlight of the 120 minutes was Zidane’s toro act on Materazzi, what a way to bow out of football.

Yeah Materazzi is a scumbag player with plenty of previous, had a tweak of Zidane’s nipple then said something, but this was a pretty bizarre reaction, which could have had more far reaching effects than just a red card and disgrace for the French captain.

But this’ll probably be the only thing most remember of the 2006 World Cup final and will be the ending to all bits about the glorious career of the finest footballer of his generation – Zinedine Zidane.

With clips of the two headers that won France the 1998 World Cup and the glorious volley at Hampden in 2002 that helped Madrid to their 9th European Cup – Goooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaal – there will now always be the footage of him traipsing off Berlin’s Olympic Stadium pitch.

The vote for the Golden Ball award for the World Cup’s best player by journalists was mostly carried out before the incident above and so saw Zidane (with 2,012 points) beating the Italians Fabio Cannavaro (1,977) and Andrea Pirlo (715). I really don’t know how, actually I do it was the emotional vote, a great player playing his last ever game never mind the fact he only played for one and half games throughout the whole tournament. A half against Spain in the second round and against a Brazil side that gave him all the time and space in the world to run the game in the quarters. Nowhere in the opening round before his suspension and again non existent in the semi against Portugal, he was effectively crowded out of the final by Gattuso – I can honestly say when I used to see Reno run about like a headless chicken week in week out for Rangers in the 90s I never thought he’d get this far.

Cannavaro should have won, he was outstanding, and nicely had big time flop and dirtiest player of the Cup Henry in his pocket in the final.

All over a strange World Cup, yet again after 2002 the big name players failed to show – wasn’t this meant to be Ronaldinho’s time ? – but the little guys that made it past the first round didn’t make the quarters like 2002.

The lowest top scorer, with Miroslav Klose’s 5, since 1962, as no striker really stood out and when picking a team of the tournament a real struggle to find two forwards that performed. Christ the eulogising over Ro(u)ndaldo when he actually managed to put the ball in the net when Mr Blobby was worse than useless.

FIFA said they were going to stamp out “simulation” and then did sod all about it really, so much so that Portugal won FIFA’s most entertaining award, funny how Sepp Bladder never had a go at them for playing 1 or none up front the way he did with England. Well won’t happen next time if Sven gets the job with them 😀

The Germans made it a fun tournament with their team and the fans, the set up and not just their organisation and even celebrating coming 3rd as much as if they’d have won it. Funny how Schweinsteiger seemed to play his best in the first and last games when a certain Ballack wasn’t on the field. Must admit I was routing for Jurgen after England went out and their semi against Italy was an absolute cracker, but then I wanted Italy to beat the Frogs.

He wants to get out now though, Jurgen, cause the last 6 teams to come third in the WC have been European and have failed to qualify for the following Euro Championship.

And then to end it all Italy win on penalties, scoring all 5 and each one of them was very well taken…now if the Italians can do it is there hope for England…OK don’t know what I was thinking of there…

Anyway the Toxic team of 2006

Gk – Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

Def – Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)
Def – Lilian Thuram (France)
Def – Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
Def – Philipp Lahm (Germany)

Mid – Juan Roman Riquelme (Argentina)
Mid – Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Mid – Zinedine Zidane (France) – for the sending off alone 😀
Mid – Gennaro Gattuso (Italy)

For – Miroslav Klose (Germany)
For – Hernan Crespo (Argentina)

Bench – Richard Kingson (Ghana), Rafael Marquez (Mexico), Willy Sagnol (France), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Aaron Lennon (England), Maniche (Portugal), Javier Saviola (Argentina)

2 Replies to “Many predicted”

  1. At first thought the Zizou red card was a really dismaying way for him to, er, bow out, and felt a little sick when the red was produced. But now it looks like it really isn’t going to harm his reputation long-term, after all (then again, of course, Maradona is still seen as one of the greatest ever – in my humble eyes, THE greatest ever – despite his obvious negligence to official rules and fair play and what-not, what-ho).
    But he seems to be getting plenty of sympathy and empathy.
    And, as retaliation goes, it was rather brutally beautiful…

    Good end-of-tournament team.
    How about this for a flop team?:
    Kalac – Zaccardo, Kuffour, Gamarra – Alexandersson, Lumpalard, Zurawski, Donovan – Kezman, Borgetti, poor old Ruud. Manager: well, who else, eh…?

    Klose was excellent, well worthy of his golden boot even if for a mere five goals. He also created all of Podolski’s, leaving his junior Pole little to do except stab into an empty net each time.

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