The World Cup ends….
…with a final match that was an uncomfortable reminder of several negative aspects of the tournament itself – players diving, wrong decisions by the referee, red card etc. The match will forever live in infamy for the incident – with 10 minutes remaining in the second half of extra-time and the score tied, Zinedine Zidane head-butted the Italian player Materazzi. The main referee missed the incident, but was alerted by the fourth referee (opinions differ as to whether TV replay was used), leading to Zidane’s ouster in the last international game for this legendary French midfielder.
The football itself was entertaining in parts, especially the back and forth action in the first half. France dominated the second half. Zidane’s amazing header in extra-time should have sealed the game except for an equally amazing save by Buffon. You don’t want to see a World Cup finals decided by penalties – but a decision has to reached somehow. Italy buried the ghost of the 1994 Baggio penalty miss to win. Poor Trezeguet – he will have to live with this one. Six years ago, he scored the winning goal against Italy in sudden death extra-time play to secure the Euro 2000 championship for France. This time he was the only French player to miss the penalty. So it goes.
I would have gone into a deeper analysis of the World Cup – but between this post by Confused and this one by Patrix (two bloggers with whom much of the World Cup excitement was shared), I believe most of the ground has been covered.
This morning I was afflicted by the sad thought of no more World Cup games to look forward to. In fact, there is very little sports action going on right now – no upcoming cricket tours for India, the ‘other’ football not due to start till September and I am not much of a baseball fan (till it reaches the knockout stage). The World Cup, while it lasted, provided an easy topic to blog about. Now I shall to find some real issues.