By Paul Kennedy
Just what did Marco
Materazzi say or do, if anything, to provide France
captain Zinedine Zidane
to viciously head-butt the Italy defender and get sent off in Sunday's
World Cup final?
"According to several very well informed sources from the world of
football," the anti-racism group SOS Racism said in a statement, "it
would seem that the Italian player Marco Materazzi called Zinedine
Zidane a 'dirty terrorist.'"
Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, was shown a red card late in
overtime, and Italy went on to win on penalties after the match was
Zidane's teammates defended their captain.
"Italians always act like this," said striker David Trezeguet,
who plays in Italy for Juventus. "It is a shame to say that, but when
they feel they are being dominated they try to provoke you. FIFA and
the referees only see the second act; they never look at why there is
"I accept when the adversary wins with honor, but that is not the
case," said defender William
Gallas. "People can't react like that, but he has been
insulted -- when you play against people like that you want to kick
Not everyone in France defended Zidane, who remained silent about the
"This morning, Zinedine, what do we tell our children, and all
those for whom you were the living role model for all times?" the
sports daily L'Equipe
named World Cup's top player
Zidane didn't win the 1998 World Cup MVP award when he led France to
its only World Cup title, but he won the Golden Ball award as
the outstanding player of the 2006 World
Cup in votes cast by the media before he was shown the red card.
Zidane received 2,012 votes, Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro
finished second with 1,977, and Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo was
third with 715.
successful penalty for France against Italy meant he
became the fourth player to score three goals in the history of the
showpiece final. He also scored from the penalty spot to defeat
Portugal, 1-0, in the semifinals, and set up Thierry Henry for
winning goal against Brazil in the quarterfinals. Zidane also scored an
insurance goal in the 3-1 win over Spain in the second round.
Germany's Miroslav Klose
won the Golden Boot as the top scorer with
five goals; Italy's Gianluca
Buffon won the Lev Yashin Award as the top goalie
at the World Cup.
Brazil and Spain shared the fair play award. Portugal won the award as
the "most entertaining team."