Sunday, July 09, 2006

Italy are the Champions!!!

64 matches, 30 days, 310 yellow cards , 28 red cards and 147 goals later, Italy are the world champions and a legend is disgraced.

In what was one of the most exciting matches of the whole tournament, Italy came on top against France overcoming their dismal records in penalty-shootouts and winning their fourth world cup after they won in 1934, 1938 and 1982. Italy were lucky that it went into penalties considering that they were dead-tired and were barely moving in the second half of extra-time. All this thanks to a thoughtless act by a legend Zinedine Zidane who before the match was assured of a place among the legends Pele, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Cruyff regardless of whether France won the world cup or not. What was he thinking? No matter what Materrazi did or said to him there was no reason for head-butting somebody in the middle of a game and a game as important as a world cup final.That one act just changes everything. Now whenever somebody talks of Zizou, they are not going to remember him by the sublime skills that he displayed in the years gone by but by this single moment of madness which was the turning point of the entire game. Without their midfield warriors Zizou, Viera, Ribery and Henry France looked lost and beaten even before the penalties. This is not the first time that Zizou has lost his cool. He head-butted a SV Hamburg player once and got sent-off in the 2002 WC stamping on the back of a Saudi Arabia player. He had a chance to redeem himself and he did by carrying France to the finals and almost to their second World Cup. But after this he won't get a chance again since he has already announced his retirement from international and club football. I really hope that the world forgives him for this and he can rightfully take his place among the legends. Even Maradona had the "Hand of God" thing but nobody holds it against him.
Coming back to the match it was a wonderful display of football with both the teams attacking and defending really well. France were really coming into their own in the midfield and were for me the team who really deserved to win. But this was Italy's world cup to win and they displayed their never-die attitude by coming back from a goal down and hanging on to take the game to penalties. Also they have to thank their goalie Buffon who was outstanding in the entire tournament and made a unbelievable save against Zidane during extra-time which might have caused some of Zizou's frustration.
Italy with a record of 3-0 in penalties in their previous world cup games and having lost the 1994 world cup to Brazil on penalties, did nothing wrong in the penalty shootout and scored all their 5 penalties to clinch the title.
One man who made a difference for Italy in their knockout games was Fabian Grosso who got a penalty against Australia which Francesco Totti scored in the 2nd round match, scored the 1st goal against Germany in the dying minutes and was fitting that he scored the final penalty.
This win came timely for the Azurris considering that 13 of the 23 players play for the 4 teams Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina that are being investigated for their role in referree-fixing for some of the Serie-A matches. Most of this players are expected to switch to the other big teams in the Premiership and the La-Liga. I hope that Manchester UTD, my favourite club team can get some of them particularly Gattuso who has made statements in the past about playing for ManU.

My All-Star team for this world cup is:

Gianluggi Buffon (GK) (Italy)
Roberto Ayala (Def) (Argentina)
Fabio Cannavaro (Def) (Italy)
Philip Lahm (Def) (Germany)
Lilian Thuram (Def) (France)
Zinedine Zidane (MF) (France)
Germaine Gattuso (MF) (Italy)
Joe Cole (MF) (England)
Maxi Rodriguez (MF) (Argentina)
Thierry Henry (F) (France)
Miroslav Klose (F) (Germany)

Coach: Marcelo Lippi

Best of 2006 World Cup:

Goal : Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina)
Match: Italy V/S France
Team : Italy
Player: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)

This concludes my posting for this world cup. The next world cup is going to be held in South Africa in the year 2010. Till then, I am going to continue posting about my favourite team Manchester United.
Till then, Enjoy...


No comments: