Italy won the World Cup early this morning Brisbane time, so i'm not only tired but i'm also very grumpy.
They defeated France 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the game plus extra time ended 1-1. It was another one of those matches where the team who majorly dominated the game and deserved to win, lost out on penalties.
I slept through my alarm, so I missed the first 30mins of the match, which also included both of the goals. After a pretty equal first half, France almost completely dominated the second half, as well as both halves of extra time. But like Australia before them, they really did not create that many clear cut chances against the formidable Italian defence. In extra time, Zidane had an absolute screamer of a header which was brilliantly saved by the Italian 'keeper Buffon.
Then came the moment of infamy. Zidane who was playing his last competitive match for France, was hoping to go out on a high by winning the World Cup. Instead he went out in disgrace following an incident with Materazzi. See the video of the incident on YouTube here. It's quite clear that, totally off the ball, Materazzi was reaching around Zidane and giving his... errr ... nipple a tweak, which is just appalling. Then Zidane, already pissed off at that as he ran away, appears to blow his top at something the Italian says to his back. Zidane was subsequently sent off, and the rest will be history.
What a pity for such a master of the game to go out like that, but nevertheless he will be regarded as one of the greats of football in recent decades. But it would be interesting to find out what Materazzi said to Zidane to set him off.
So Italy are the World Champions. Although I absolutely despise their style of football, hats off to them. It is quite an amazing pattern they have got going too: Since 1970, they make the World Cup final every 12 years and then every second time they do, they win it: 1970 they lose the final; 1982 they win the final; 1994 they lose the final; 2006 they win the final.
For me, this is the World Cup which I have followed the most, and honestly it is a totally forgettable one, and not just because of the team which won. Characterised by questionable refereeing and even more questionable actions by the players, this World Cup has not been one for the purists.