Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup!

Congratulations to Italy, 2006 World Cup winners! (And incidentally, the team Kathy was rooting for.)

I was rooting for France -- mostly on the strength of Zindine Zedane's play in earlier games. Not to discount the contributions of the other players (Henry and Ribery are amazing too), but some of Zedane's moves, along with the announcement of his retirement after the tournament, really grabbed me and made me a fan.

And then Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi in a graphic display of poor sportsmanship. He was sent off with a red card, ending his career on a sour note.

I don't know at all what this guy is like. I didn't follow soccer before a couple of weeks ago. But out of everyone, he was the guy I was rooting for, and for him to pull a stunt like that? I was stunned. It was like he was possessed. I can't imagine what would make a guy jeopardize so much good will with ony 10 minutes to go in his career.

I continued to root for France after that -- after all, it's not like they flew off the handle as a team -- but I can't say I'm sorry that Italy won. Zedane let his team down with that head-butt, and I don't doubt that he'll regret it for a long time to come.

What a waste.



youkilledkenny said...

viva italia! what a great game!!!! first torino 2006, now the world cup! cya all in south africa 2010!

Rob S. said...

Definitely a great game, played wonderfully on both sides. With one exception, of course.

And welcome, Kenny!

Jeri said...

I had the exact reaction as you, Rob. I was rooting for France, partly just because I figured no one else in the US was, but also because of Zidane.

When he headbutted Materazzi, I thought, that can't be right. That wasn't him. He didn't just blow the World Cup and end his career on a cheap shot.

That'd be like Derek Jeter punching the other team's catcher during the bottom of the 9th, tie score, 7th game of the World Series.

I'm dying to know what Materazzi said to get Zidane so pissed.

And my spouse also rooted for Italy. Since he's Italian and all.

Yeah, I know I said I hated soccer. But not so much anymore. It's kinda pretty, not as boring as I thought. And now that I know it can be violent, I'm so there!

Lobbyist said...

Materazzi insulted his mother.

Materazzi got off easy with a headbutt.

Every guy knows "moms are off limits"


Jeri said...

I guess language barriers have really dropped since the formation of the European Union.

It was a calculated insult, and Materazzi got exactly what he wanted. Zidane shouldn't have fallen for it.

Although I think that moment probably did wonders for the sport's popularity in the U.S.

Rob S. said...

Yeah... However out of line Materazzi was -- and signs point to yes, as my magic eightball would say -- Zidane shouldn't have taken the bait.

But I imagine it's hard to sit still when your mom is insulted on a TV broadcast seen around the world, even if, intellectually, you know no one can hear the words.

I'm glad France has contiued to embrace him.

Lobbyist said...