Posted by: Nathan | July 10, 2006

World Cupdate: The Final

What an insane game!

Thanks to my dad taping the final (I was on my anniversary stay in Galena), I watched Italy v. France today. I must say, I’m shocked about what happened.

France took the early lead on an iffy call PK. Zidane put it in with the ballsiest kick I’ve seen: he ran up to the ball causing Italy’s keeper to dive and then he floated it off the crossbar and over the line. 1-0 France.

After that, Les Bleus called off the assault for a while, allowing Italy to tie it up. Materazzi took a great ball off a corner kick and snapped it into the back of the net. 1-1.

The rest of regulation was just about all France. I don’t know if the Italians were winded from their defeat of Germany, but they had nothing in the final. They did have a goal disallowed on an offsides call, but that was all they could muster. Meanwhile, France blew chance after chance, most of them incited by Henry, who was huge in regular time. Italy managed to prevent Les Bleus from getting the go-ahed tally and forced overtime.

In OT, it was more France. It looked like Italy either didn’t really want to win the World Cup or grew allergic to the ball. Zidane had a great chance (that should’ve won it) on a header that was tipped high. Still, France kept pushing, and they looked like the Azzurri had to break eventually.

Instead, Zidane went insane and inexplicably head butted an Italian square in the chest. There are rumors Materazzi called him a “dirty terrorist.” Either way, insta-red card for France’s captain playing in his last game, which also happed to be the World Cup Final!! So, France now down a man, continued to dominate but could not score. PKs.

Once it got to penalty kicks, it was all Italy. France’s goalie is average at best, and he was exposed in the PKs big time as the Azzurri made good on all five of their attempts. France got three out of four, but Trezequet’s kick bounced off the crossbar propelling Italy to their fourth World Cup trophy.

This was a major anticlimax to a month of soccer that had been truly incredible to watch. Zidane’s antics were inexcusable and stupid, and, worse, the better team lost in the final. Italy looked bad yesterday. To their credit, they played bend-don’t-break perfectly, but France outplayed the Azzurri until the PKs. It was exciting to see so many made attempts in the PKs, but Italy’s victory will always be a weak one to me.

Too bad too. I had really enjoyed the World Cup. Now, I’m okay with waiting four more years for soccer. One thing’s certain: a finale like this will do nothing to win over U.S. fans to the “beautiful game.” Yeah, it’s beautiful sometimes, but as Zidane showed us, it can be just as ugly as any game.

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Responses

  1. I hope I didn’t ruin the game for you with my message. I hope your anniversary was fun. I, too, was absolutely shocked!

  2. Nobody cares about this crappy 2nd tier sport. Welcome to the European Cup!

  3. Actually, PK, as soon as you mentioned the World Cup in your message, I immediately deleted it. So no, you didn’t ruin anything, though I didn’t get to hear your message all the way through. Did you say anything super cool?


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