Sunday, July 09, 2006

Viva Italia...

...and f--k the French.

Italy won the World Cup today beating France 5-4 on penalty kicks after the game ended in a 1-1 tie. I shouldn't be so hard on the French -- they played well today -- but I have a long memory for duplicity. The game threatened to be a high-scoring spectacle -- both goals came in the first 20 minutes -- but the match couldn't follow through on that threat.

It was mostly enjoyable to watch, but I'm an American: something deep inside me makes it impossible to see the virtues of the sport. I know it is unrealistic to ask the players to continue after two hours, but penalty kicks seem a lame way to end the game. They were today mostly a function of luck: the goalkeepers saved not a single one of the kicks, and France only lost when one of their players struck the crossbar and missed.

The game featured the most bizarre sports moment I've seen since Alex Rodriguez' girly slap in the 2004 ALCS. During a pause in play in the 110th minute, Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi started jawing at each other. Zidane turned to face the Italian and suddenly decided to head butt Materazzi in the chest. Clutching his chest, Materazzi fell to the ground with a look of shock on face.

UPDATE: Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping has a video of Zidane's bizarre head butt. Zidane does a good impression of a bull elephant.

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