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July 12-18, 2006

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Marco Materazzi

Jerry Lewis Can't Help You Now!: Marco Materazzi celebrates his goal against France in the 2006 World Cup final.

Cup's Good, Bad And Ugly

By Felipe Buitrago

SOCCER'S Eastwood and Van Cleef met at dusk in Berlin this past Sunday for a final shootout. And when the dust finally cleared ... Italy was world champion once again. Italy, which has already captured the cup on three other occasions, and France, which has taken one World Cup and two Euro Cup titles, battled it out on the field for 120 minutes, with Italy making the final decision through penalty kicks, ending in 5-3.

France fired first at the Italians in minute six of the first half when Malouda fell inside the 18 and Zinedine put the ball just under the cross bar, scoring one for the French. About 10 minutes later, Materazzi decided to even the score. Towering over the defense, he headed a clear shot into the net. Now a 1-1 tie, the real match began—time to pull out the big guns. France's Henry launched several attacks on the Italians, but failed to hit home. Italy soon responded. Toni headed a free kick past Barthez's reach, scoring what would've been 2-1, but was called offside by the linesman.

The epic final made its way into overtime and the French became relentless. The match may have been decided if not for the talent of Buffon tipping a header over the crossbar. The tension was high and with four minutes left of overtime it pushed Zidane over the edge: an ugly head butt to Materazzi in the chest gave Zidane a direct red card and a one-way ticket to the lockers. Sadly the red card meant more than being expelled from the final of the World Cup: this was also the last game of his career. Overtime soon ended and the rest of the French team's fate was sealed when Trezeguet failed to score in the Italian net during penalty kicks.

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