FIFA World Cup: The Final

Some random thoughts on the 2006 World Cup Final. This time I’m going to let my good friend Arnold Woods have the last word on this blog:
– Not a bad game.  France dominated the action much of the game (though strangely did not dominate time of possession), but Gigi Buffon and the Fabio Cannavaro-led defense did their job at turning back the attacks and shots. France should not have scored at all as Florent Malouda
took a dive on the foul call in the penalty box.  I cannot fault the referee on that one though as I initially thought it was a real foul and the ref had none of the replays that we saw.  Furthermore, the referee did not call a foul later when Malouda was taken down in the box, so it all evened out for France.
   How stupid was Zidane Zidane for that head butt?  There were only 10 minutes left and the game was quite likely headed to a penalty shootout.  Zidane deprived France of their best penalty shot artist.  And I don’t care what Marco Materazzi said; it was just plain stupid to go out of your final game ever in that fashion.  As Gregg Easterbrook of would say about football games: “I said game over at that point, Italy would win.”
   Italy did not play a very inspired offensive game. Francesco Totti and Luca Toni were virtually non-existent and Alessandro Del Piero and Vincenzo Iaquinta did little once they were added to the game.  After France scored on the penalty kick, Italy’s offense came alive long enough to connect on the Materazzi header, but they fell back into their defensive game after that for the most part.  Of course, their defense was dominant throughout the tourney, but you can’t rely on winning via PKs.  You have to go out and try to win the game.  But what do I know?
   Italy still won the world championship with this defensive strategy. Still a very good game to watch, though I wish it hadn’t been decided on PKs.  The Germany-Portugal match the day before was a much more exciting match. Nice to see how teams play when they have nothing to lose.
   On to South Africa in 2010.

                                           — Arnold Woods –