Sunday, July 09, 2006

France falls again

Italy beats France for the World Cup on penalties. A few observations:

1. The Italian style of football does not match our stereotypical view of Italians as stylish, emotional and flashy. They play catenaccio ("door-bolt")a defensive oriented game reminiscent of the old four corners or Woody Hayes' offense. The azzurri gave up only two goals in seven games - an own goal against the US and a penalty to the French. No one scored against them in the run of play.

2. The French legend Zinedine Zidane ended his storied international career (and a great tournament) in a horrible way. He was sent off in the 107th minute for brutally head butting Marco Materazzi who must have said something overly familiar about Mrs. Zidane. (On the video at the end of the link, the French announcer is saying "But why? But why?") Zidane's attack was unprovoked aggression. It was preemptive. It was undiplomatic. I wonder if Zidane will be allowed back into France?

3. It is disappointing to see a game like this decided on penalties, but how different is that from a basketball or football game being decided on the last possession? When two teams play to even, there will always be something arbitrary about which one wins.

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