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NJReds
07-09-2006, 10:30 PM
No idea of any past problems. Although Zidane played a few years w/Juventus of Italy while Matterazzi was in Serie A. He's a pretty easygoing player. I've never seen him mix it up much.

Zidane had no comment. Most of the French players said they didn't know. The French coach blamed Matterazzi for "getting" Zidane tossed. I guess he thought Matterazzi was faking. Didn't look fake to me, or to any announcer watching, or anyone I've talked to.

Matterazzi had no comment, either.

I guess it'll remain a mystery.

M2
07-09-2006, 10:43 PM
Neither team really had great looks at the goal, just formidable defenses.

Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.

Cedric
07-09-2006, 10:43 PM
I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.

westofyou
07-09-2006, 10:47 PM
I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.Yep, look at John Roseboro, one time he flipped out bad too.

Cedric
07-09-2006, 10:55 PM
Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.

I don't really know what's not to praise about players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. They won the world cup without one of the best CB's in the world also.

They are technically brilliant in what they do, I stand by that.

Yachtzee
07-09-2006, 11:04 PM
I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.

I think premeditated is a bit strong, but I couldn't help but wonder if Matterazzi or someone else had done things in the past to get under Zidane's skin and whatever Matterazzi was the last straw. I can't image that Zidane would be so stupid as to lose it and get carded over a little smack talk in the biggest game in the world. In fact, I had wondered if there was something that had happened earlier that was missed by the camera,...maybe Matterazzi working on Zidane's shoulder he had just hurt. In any case, it was a classic dumb move at absolutely the wrong time.

MWM
07-09-2006, 11:13 PM
And a team that got outplayed for almost 120 solid minutes won.

I guess if your rooting interest is tied up with the whole great French/freedom fries debate rather than on the game they're playing then that's a good thing, but I'd have rather seen the team that dominated play take the Cup. Italy's probably going down in history as one of the worst teams ever to win the Cup. In fact, I can't think of a less inspiring team that's won the whole thing off the top of my head.

That's EXACTLY how I feel about it. Disappointing ending to a very good cup. The difference between the two teams wasn't even that close. But that's soccer. That's one of things that makes it unique. It looked to me like Italy's game plan was to bring it to PKs. Buffon won this game for them today (although he didn't stop any PKs). But that stop on the Zidane headball won the cup for them.

It hurts a little to think that that headball, had it gone in, would have been a fairy tale ending to Zidane's brilliant career. Instead, Buffon gets a hand on it, and we get the head butt to remember him by. I am still in shock that Zidane did it, and saddened.

MWM
07-09-2006, 11:17 PM
I thought France had several great looks at the goal and should have knocked one in in the second half. Italy's defense showed some holes today and France outplayed them BY A LARGE MARGIN, IMO.

M2
07-09-2006, 11:24 PM
I don't really know what's not to praise about players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. They won the world cup without one of the best CB's in the world also.

They are technically brilliant in what they do, I stand by that.

They're great defenders, but let's face it, they've got an inordinant amount of help. The entire Italian midfield is packed back on top of them. It's nothing unusual for an opponent to go on the attack against Italy and find eight Italian players between the ball and the goal.

They've got less ground to cover and if they get beat, usually two guys have already run in behind them. They never attack unless it's on a set piece. The French sent Sagnol and Abidal forward all day. Lahm and Friedrich attack for the Germans. Miguel, Ashley Cole, Maxi Rodriguez, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Sergio Ramos and a host of other defenders make regular forays into the offense and still play solid defense.

Italy's defenders, though ferocious and skilled, don't expend energy moving forward. Can they stop a great attacker one on one? By the looks of it, not that often. They almost always have numbers on defense. Looked to me like Henry could take Zambrotta at will. The problem was taking Zambrotta and two other guys and then lining up a clean shot on net.

It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play. I give them all the credit in the world for playing it to perfection, but I also know most of the rest of the world finds it a far from admirable style of play.

westofyou
07-09-2006, 11:34 PM
It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play.

Very Jacque Demers it is.

MWM
07-09-2006, 11:35 PM
France also had great defenders, great midfield, and great strikers. They were a superior all around team, with the Italians being superior in the goal (Barthez was WAY out of position on the Italy goal).

Cedric
07-09-2006, 11:41 PM
They're great defenders, but let's face it, they've got an inordinant amount of help. The entire Italian midfield is packed back on top of them. It's nothing unusual for an opponent to go on the attack against Italy and find eight Italian players between the ball and the goal.

They've got less ground to cover and if they get beat, usually two guys have already run in behind them. They never attack unless it's on a set piece. The French sent Sagnol and Abidal forward all day. Lahm and Friedrich attack for the Germans. Miguel, Ashley Cole, Maxi Rodriguez, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Sergio Ramos and a host of other defenders make regular forays into the offense and still play solid defense.

Italy's defenders, though ferocious and skilled, don't expend energy moving forward. Can they stop a great attacker one on one? By the looks of it, not that often. They almost always have numbers on defense. Looked to me like Henry could take Zambrotta at will. The problem was taking Zambrotta and two other guys and then lining up a clean shot on net.

It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play. I give them all the credit in the world for playing it to perfection, but I also know most of the rest of the world finds it a far from admirable style of play.

Not true though. Zambrotta and Grossa made runs the whole tournament, in fact scoring in the flow of the game against the Ukraine. I think stereotype of Italy is overriding truth in these discussions.
Perrota, Grossa, and Zambrotta were huge parts of the Italian attacking style and even scored the deciding goals in certain games.
Here is a good article that I think agrees with my points from ESPN.com.

"Defying the scientists
Roberto Gotta
Archive

Try as he might, Marcello Lippi simply cannot disguise his team's attacking attitude.


AlexLivesey/GettyImages
Attacking substitute Alessandro Del Piero celebrates Italy making the final.

Viewers who shifted uncomfortably in their seats during Italy's matches agains Australia and Ukraine will find this hard to believe, but Tuesday's historic win over Germany in Dortmund again smuggled the concept through a series of checkpoints of cliches and preconceived ideas.

Yes, Italy were not adventurous against the Socceroos, and kept pace under control against the Ukrainians, with their lone striker set-up signalling that they were not going to take chances.

But a magnificently managed match against the Germans again showed the momentary lapses into the decades-old habit of sitting back, absorbing the opponents' attacks then springing forward with a numerical advantage were just that, lapses.

With the game on the line, Lippi sent on two strikers, Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Del Piero, and while the latter's introduction may have had something to do with the fact penalty kicks were likely at the time, any coach who does that in a World Cup semifinal deserves praise, whatever his PR-skills - minimal - or empathy with the press - same.

Ten different players have scored Italy's eleven goals so far. Another, Zaccardo, scored the only goal the Azzurri have conceded with a spectacularly mis-hit clearance.

That hardly sounds like a team asking its back four and midfield to drop the anchor in their own half.

Italy did not dominate Germany, far from it, but apart from a few minutes early in the second half they did not look in the least intimidated by the huge crowd and playing a World Cup semi-final at the home of the hosts.

Andrea Pirlo, despite mis-hitting a few passes in the direction of Camoranesi, whom he must believe to have wheels instead of legs because he kept sending in through on impossible balls, played a great game of controlling the tempo and setting up team-mates with the simplest of passes. He often resorted to his unique skill of making it appear as if the clock is slowing down when he has the ball, protecting it from tackles and swiftly touching it away from lunges with minumum motion.

That he also made Grosso's wonderful goal by keeping his nerve on a German clearance and giving up a good chance to shoot, preferring instead to dwell on the ball and deliver it to Italy's left-back, also speaks volumes about a player who only a few years ago was described by his coach at Brescia as 'having trouble showing his hunger on the pitch because he comes from a well-off family and has not had to fight for anything'.

As for Grosso, can anyone really say Italy are too negative when its two full-backs are pushing forward all the time and Perrotta on the left, even more so than Camoranesi on the right, has never seen a forward run he doesn't fancy?

While at times Toni has looked too lonely, Lippi obviously prefers to push as many men forward from midfield as possible and in Totti - even if he's still short of full match fitness - he has the player who can win one-on-ones and create a numerical advantage in the last third of the pitch. This means you do not need to have two strikers to be offensive, just one good enough at protecting the ball and bringing teammates into play.

Going back to the start of the campaign, of course, Italy had approached the World Cup with their preferred 4-3-1-2, going back to one striker in a 4-3-2-1 for the game against the Czech Republic with Gilardino, not Toni, as Lippi's choice. 4-3-3 was adopted against Australia then Toni was again alone in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

This approach produced five goals and seems to have further liberated the attacking instincts of Zambrotta and Grosso, 'won' the dubious, last second penalty against Australia that had saved Italy from playing extra time with one man down. The full-back pair have had more space to run into, given the absence of any semblance of traditional wingers in the squad.


Bongarts/GettyImages
Buffon and Cannavaro: Twin rocks on which the attacks could be built.

They can also, and certainly did in Dortmund, take some comfort from the fact their defensive colleagues in the middle of the pitch are having a sensational campaign, with the help of Gennaro Gattuso who might have surprised superficial observers who did not know about his tactical acumen and sense of position in getting back to help.

Italy leaked some chances to Ukraine and a couple to Germany, but Cannavaro and Materazzi, who's likely to keep his place in the final after another strong performance and with Nesta struggling to recover from a muscle injury, are returning all messages to the senders.

Cannavaro's timely interventions have been a feature of the Azzurri play, although sometimes you suspect some last-ditch tackles are the product of spottily ineffective unit defending in the first place, and the fact Buffon has been magnificent in the tournament also means opponents have been able to take a few shots at goal without scoring.

Italy '06, obviously, are not the perfect team and are not going to be in the history books as the epitome of attacking football.

But their confident, assured performance in the pressure cooker of the Westfalenstadion, where they never sat back for the sake of safety-first negativity, certainly upset some odds and may even have causedd consternation among scientists; the front page headline on a magazine hanging from a hook on my train to Munich on Wednesday morning read 'Physics professor proves: we're going to be the world champions'.

Sadly for Germany, the laws of physics, just like the common law that states 'Italy, shalt play catenaccio', sometimes do not work as expected."

MWM
07-09-2006, 11:43 PM
I watched the games, too. Stereotype has nothing to do with it.

Cedric
07-09-2006, 11:46 PM
I watched the games, too. Stereotype has nothing to do with it.

Really? Then how do you explain the play of Zambrotta, Grosso, and Perroni? You watched the games and disagree?

Gross and Zambratto were fantastic this tournament in attacking and pressing the game. I have no idea what some of you were watching. That espn article exemplifies exactly what I have been saying on this thread.

I do'nt know if you think the author is biased like me though, ha.

Goals against the Ukraine, causing the penalty against Australia, and scoring the game winner against Germany.

Italian defenders were scoring like crazy in this tournament and that's not even counting in the dead ball plays.

Betterread
07-09-2006, 11:47 PM
Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.

Both teams played a 4-5-1.
Both coaches referred to their similiar styles of play.
In fact, the Italian wing defenders moved upfield far more frequently (Zumbrotta and Perrotta) and effectively than their French counterparts.
If you don't like Italian soccer, that's fine. But your criticism leaves no room for the things that Italian soccer does very well, and that is what the world cup is about...
No-one has mentioned is the high fitness rate of the Italian team and their high level of technical ability. These are qualities that all countries, and all players work on and this Italian team had more players on their squad with those qualities than the countries they played. The Italians had no-one as skilled as Zidane and Henry, but those two couldn't "carry" the rest of their team, which was sad (in some ways) yet totally predictable.

MWM
07-09-2006, 11:57 PM
And Ced, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a fan of a team. I think maybe fandom is overriding truth a bit as well. It's OK, but don't try to tell us you're being perfectly objective while we aren't.

Cedric
07-09-2006, 11:58 PM
I didn't throw that out there. You did and early in this thread.

Someone disagrees with you they are biased lol.

I know all about that.

Betterread
07-10-2006, 12:08 AM
I want to thank the participants in this thread for all the great discussions and shared opinions about the tournament. I enjoyed reading views from soccer fans from the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Australia (and any other countries I inadvertentlly missed) and it helped provide me with a broader view of the tournament than I would have had otherwise. It will be a part of my memory of the 2006 world cup and it would be great if we could reprise a similiar thread in four years.

M2
07-10-2006, 12:17 AM
I do'nt know if you think the author is biased like me though, ha.

Actually, yeah. I think Roberto Gotta is putting some heavy gilding on that lily.

I'll give Italy some credit. When it chose to attack during the tournament, it pushed more players forward than in previous years, but outside of 12 minutes today and the overtime against Germany, they showed darn little of it in the last two games. They were fun against Ukraine, but Ukraine was just about the most porous, overmatched final eight team you're likely to see.


Both teams played a 4-5-1.
Both coaches referred to their similiar styles of play.
In fact, the Italian wing defenders moved upfield far more frequently (Zumbrotta and Perrotta) and effectively than their French counterparts.
If you don't like Italian soccer, that's fine. But your criticism leaves no room for the things that Italian soccer does very well, and that is what the world cup is about...
No-one has mentioned is the high fitness rate of the Italian team and their high level of technical ability. These are qualities that all countries, and all players work on and this Italian team had more players on their squad with those qualities than the countries they played. The Italians had no-one as skilled as Zidane and Henry, but those two couldn't "carry" the rest of their team, which was sad (in some ways) yet totally predictable.

What game were you watching? Italy spent the last 90 minutes of the game almost never crossing the midfield line. How can a team that mounts no attack be getting defenders into the attack? Sagnol and Ribery were working the right and Abidal and Malouda were working the left all game long, pulling frequent switches.

The coaches may have both deployed a 4-5-1 on paper, but the French clearly sent more players forward. They were winning the overwhelming bulk of the balls in the midfield and their transition from defense to offense was light years ahead of the Italians. Meanwhile, the Italians played what amounted to a six- or seven-man backline for the bulk of the game. Like I said, they do it to perfection. Teams can break themselves running at the stone wall the Italians construct. It won them a World Cup, but don't tell me they don't construct that wall or that they're playing attacking football. I'm fully cognizant of what the Italians do well and they certainly deserve their due for it, but outside of winning it's a style that just about no one wants to emulate.

WMR
07-10-2006, 12:22 AM
I want to thank the participants in this thread for all the great discussions and shared opinions about the tournament. I enjoyed reading views from soccer fans from the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Australia (and any other countries I inadvertentlly missed) and it helped provide me with a broader view of the tournament than I would have had otherwise. It will be a part of my memory of the 2006 world cup and it would be great if we could reprise a similiar thread in four years.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

What a great post. I feel the exact same way.

I hope this thread can be put in the archives? That would be sweet.

NJReds
07-10-2006, 08:50 AM
Italy and France will have a rematch in September (Euro 2008 qualifier).

reds1869
07-10-2006, 09:39 AM
I want to thank the participants in this thread for all the great discussions and shared opinions about the tournament. I enjoyed reading views from soccer fans from the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Australia (and any other countries I inadvertentlly missed) and it helped provide me with a broader view of the tournament than I would have had otherwise. It will be a part of my memory of the 2006 world cup and it would be great if we could reprise a similiar thread in four years.

Well said. I would like to suggest an ongoing thread devoted to the coming European season. Perhaps we can start it right here in this thread? Or should we start a new one?

M2
07-10-2006, 09:44 AM
Just as a side question, FIFA's long been trying to figure out how to boost scoring and I'm wondering if it isn't time to revamp offsides, making it more of a hockey-type rule than basing it solely on the position of the defenders. Perhaps something could be worked by extending the 18-yard line across the field.

And thanks to WilyMo for starting this thread and to everybody who joined in. Sometimes I skipped right past the baseball side of the board just to see what was going on in this discussion.

NJReds
07-10-2006, 09:51 AM
Just as a side question, FIFA's long been trying to figure out how to boost scoring and I'm wondering if it isn't time to revamp offsides, making it more of a hockey-type rule than basing it solely on the position of the defenders. Perhaps something could be worked by extending the 18-yard line across the field.

Offsides is almost an impossible rule to properly enforce. A lineman has to judge the exact position of moving players when the ball up the field is kicked. They've tweaked that rule after the last two WC's; first they changed it from the offensive player having to be behind the defense to even with the defense, then they made the passive offside rule. I'm not sure if they'll change it again.

Viewership keeps going up. Despite the frustrations of diving players and low scoring games, I'm not sure that a revamp is in order.

NJReds
07-10-2006, 10:00 AM
Ahh...the NY Daily News. They just ooze class.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ips_rich_content/158-BACK_LARGE.jpg

NJReds
07-10-2006, 02:30 PM
AWARDS FROM THE 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP GERMANY™

FIFA Fair Play award - BRAZIL & SPAIN
They might have seen their hopes of lifting the Trophy dashed at a premature stage, but Brazil and Spain did not return home empty-handed, with each of their players picking up medals for their record of sportsmanship and good conduct during Germany 2006. This particular award is decided using a points system established by the FIFA Committee for Ethics and Fair Play, and the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) named Carlos Alberto Parreira and Luis Aragones's sides as joint-winners after they picked up a shared total of 886 from the 1,000 available.

adidas Golden Ball - Zinedine ZIDANE (FRA)
Arguably the greatest trophy available to an individual footballer went to one of the game’s most spectacular players of the past decade. Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo, Silver and Bronze Ball winners respectively, certainly ran him close, but despite that Final red card, Zidane undoubtedly provided some of Germany 2006’s most memorable moments, and the accredited media at the FIFA World Cup Final recognised this in their voting.

adidas Golden Shoe – Miroslav KLOSE (GER)
His winning tally might have been the lowest since Chile 1962, but Klose undoubtedly deserved this award having finished two clear of Hernan Crespo, Ronaldo and Thierry Henry with a tally of five goals that saw him move into third place in the list of top German goalscorers at FIFA World Cup finals.

Gillette Best Young Player – Lukas PODOLSKI (GER)
Emerging at the head of a 40-strong field of candidates, Lukas Podolski was named the inaugural Gillette Best Young Player by FIFA’s TSG after scoring three goals and contributing boundless energy to Germany’s enthralling FIFA World Cup campaign. “This is a big motivation for myself to keep on improving in my career and to play a even better World Cup in four years' time,” said the 21-year-old after collecting his award.

Lev Yashin Award – Gianluigi BUFFON (ITA)
No surprises here. Gianluigi Buffon produced as close to a perfect tournament as can be humanly possible, conceding just twice during Italy’s triumphant campaign, once from a Christian Zaccardo own goal and then from Zidane’s audacious penalty in the Final. The FIFA TSG members were responsible for this decision, and so faultless was Buffon throughout the tournament that it cannot have taken them long to arrive at it.

The Most Entertaining Team presented by Yahoo! - PORTUGAL
The winners of this particular award were decided upon by FIFAworldcup.com's users, who declared that Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal had set their pulses racing more than any other team.

Nugget
07-10-2006, 08:05 PM
Not to extend the discussion between MWM and Cedric but here's a link to an article regarding the final vis a vis the lead up games.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world-cup-2006/winners-send-wrong-message/2006/07/10/1152383678139.html

I also add my thanks to WilyMoRocks and only four more years. Hopefully we will be celebrating a REDS WS before then.

Caveat Emperor
07-10-2006, 08:26 PM
Just as a side question, FIFA's long been trying to figure out how to boost scoring and I'm wondering if it isn't time to revamp offsides, making it more of a hockey-type rule than basing it solely on the position of the defenders. Perhaps something could be worked by extending the 18-yard line across the field.

It would certainly open more space in the midfield, as backs would have to at least respect the ability of strikers to get behind the defense. Plus, I think it'd broaden the audiance here in America tremendously. Its against our very nature as a society to penalize people for beating the opposition going deep.

However, if you're going to be radical and change rules for scoring, I say pull a man off the pitch and go to 10 on 10. Give teams an extra substitution per match to compensate. Fewer people will definately mean more wide-open spaces and more runs at the goal.

reds1869
07-10-2006, 08:40 PM
I disagree with changing a part of the game as fundamental as offside. Call me old fashioned, but I actually like the rule.

MWM
07-10-2006, 09:15 PM
Darn, CE stole my idea of making it a 10 man game. I've also been thinking about what could be done with offsides, which is the most obvious answer to increasing scoring. But every idea I came up with would require even more subjectivity from the line judges. And that's the last thing we want. But I actually like M2's idea. How about making a line at about 25 yards where there would be no offsides if the BALL was inside this line when passed? Or just extending the 18 yard line would work.

Another thing would be to have some kind of requirement that only a certain number of players could be on a certain side of the field. That would stop teams from putting their entire team back in their box once they have a goal.

paintmered
07-10-2006, 09:22 PM
Another thing would be to have some kind of requirement that only a certain number of players could be on a certain side of the field. That would stop teams from putting their entire team back in their box once they have a goal.

That's the rule in lacrosse and there's tons of offense in that game. I think that would be a better option than adjusting offsides.

Cedric
07-10-2006, 09:22 PM
Actually, yeah. I think Roberto Gotta is putting some heavy gilding on that lily.

I'll give Italy some credit. When it chose to attack during the tournament, it pushed more players forward than in previous years, but outside of 12 minutes today and the overtime against Germany, they showed darn little of it in the last two games. They were fun against Ukraine, but Ukraine was just about the most porous, overmatched final eight team you're likely to see.



What game were you watching? Italy spent the last 90 minutes of the game almost never crossing the midfield line. How can a team that mounts no attack be getting defenders into the attack? Sagnol and Ribery were working the right and Abidal and Malouda were working the left all game long, pulling frequent switches.

The coaches may have both deployed a 4-5-1 on paper, but the French clearly sent more players forward. They were winning the overwhelming bulk of the balls in the midfield and their transition from defense to offense was light years ahead of the Italians. Meanwhile, the Italians played what amounted to a six- or seven-man backline for the bulk of the game. Like I said, they do it to perfection. Teams can break themselves running at the stone wall the Italians construct. It won them a World Cup, but don't tell me they don't construct that wall or that they're playing attacking football. I'm fully cognizant of what the Italians do well and they certainly deserve their due for it, but outside of winning it's a style that just about no one wants to emulate.

I won't argue the second half. It was quite obvious that the Italians were worn out and were losing the game badly in the midfield. They couldn't play an attacking style at that point.

But in earlier games I felt they played a more pressing style and even the first half yesterday. Obviously they had to pretty early on.

paintmered
07-10-2006, 09:23 PM
Another thing would be to have some kind of requirement that only a certain number of players could be on a certain side of the field. That would stop teams from putting their entire team back in their box once they have a goal.

That's the rule in lacrosse and there's tons of offense in that game. I think that would be a better option than adjusting offsides.

If you have a requirement that 2-3 players must stay on the offensive side of the field at all times, gone are the days of the 4-5-1 formations. And that, is a very good thing. :thumbup:

MWM
07-10-2006, 10:20 PM
Honestly, the lack of scoring doesn't bother me in and of itself. I like the action with or without the goals. The problem I have with the lack of scoring is that it allows teams who handily outplay the other team to walk away with loss far too often. I'm fine with that every once in a while, but it happens regularly because it's just so extremely difficult to actually get one in the net. Preventing that is the only reason I think a little more scoring would be a good thing.

ONe of the best rule changes ever was not allowing keepers to use their hands for balls from their own players' feet. That change was in the midst of my playing days and it certainly changed the way we played the game on the defensive side of the ball.

reds1869
07-10-2006, 10:35 PM
How about making a line at about 25 yards where there would be no offsides if the BALL was inside this line when passed? Or just extending the 18 yard line would work.

I would actually have no problem with extending the 18 and saying offsides could not be called if the ball was played from inside the new line. I hate when a goal is waved off because of an unlucky bounce that created an offside position.

Nugget
07-11-2006, 12:15 AM
I don't have so much problem with the current rules its more the tactics used by the power nations which is strangling games. They all now play with a holding midfielder and try to break teams down through the flanks are with high balls to the centre striker. The problem here is that it relies on certain types of players and unfortunately a good winger with the ball at his feet and is able to cross is difficult to find. Also the easiest way to combat this tactic is to flood the midfield so that's what we saw from the Italians, the French, the Portuguese, the Argentines, the Spanish and the English. That's why I applaud the Germans and Brazilians who were looking to combat this. Unfortunately Cafu and Carlos can no longer play at the elite level for Brazil and the Germans were really lost without a midfield ball winner. In 4 years time hopefully managers will have worked out a better style of play and move on from the 4-5-1.

captainmorgan07
07-11-2006, 12:39 AM
read today on the net that rumors are circling that matarazzi called zidane and dirty terrorist just before the retaliation head butt from zidane matarazzi denies it but zidanes agent says that he defiantely said something to zidane but zidane wouldnt' tell him what if so classless act by matarazzi if he did say that he deserved to get planted into the ground not necessarily during the game but afterwards he should got a beat down

NJReds
07-11-2006, 08:53 AM
read today on the net that rumors are circling that matarazzi called zidane and dirty terrorist just before the retaliation head butt from zidane matarazzi denies it but zidanes agent says that he defiantely said something to zidane but zidane wouldnt' tell him what if so classless act by matarazzi if he did say that he deserved to get planted into the ground not necessarily during the game but afterwards he should got a beat down


It's all hearsay. Zidane's made no claims. Matarazzi denied the 'terrorist' claim. I even saw a French report that a lipreader claims Matarazzi called him the "son of a terrorist hoar" -- but if it was something that set him of so badly, then after the headbut, he would've continued the attack. Another report said Matarazzi said something negative about ZZ's friend - a former coach who died of cancer. Another report said that ZZ said something about Matarazzi's mother, and he replied w/a comment about ZZ's sister.

It's like two kids on a playground, if you ask me.

What's being lost is that ZZ has a history of being a hothead, and in the past has had other incidents including a headbut and one time he slapped a player in the face.

If the trash-talking got to him, good thing he doesn't play in the NBA.

westofyou
07-11-2006, 12:36 PM
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=373723&cc=5901


Marco Materazzi acknowledged he insulted Zinedine Zidane before the French captain head-butted him in the World Cup final, but repeated his denial that he called Zidane a "terrorist."

"I did insult him, it's true," Materazzi said in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

How Ozzie Guillen of him to claim ignorance.

Yachtzee
07-11-2006, 03:47 PM
Want more scoring? Two words...No Goalkeepers. ;)

Rojo
07-11-2006, 05:06 PM
There's always more to the story.

http://www.counterpunch.org/zirin07112006.html

Why I Wear My Zidane Jersey
By DAVE ZIRIN

Imagine Michael Jordan in his last game, with the score tied in overtime, knocking out his defender with a punch to the throat. Imagine Derek Jeter in game seven of the World Series, at bat with the bases loaded, thrashing the opposing team's catcher over the head with his bat. Our collective shock would only be exceeded by disappointment. No one, fan or foe, would want to a see a great player end their career in an act that speaks to the worst impulses of sports: when hard competition spills over into violence.

Now imagine if Jordan and Jeter claimed they were provoked with a racial slur. Does their violence become understandable? Even excusable? Herein lies the case of French National team captain, the great Zinedine Zidane. Zidane, competing in his last professional match, was kicked out of the World Cup final in overtime for flattening Italian player Marco Materazzi with the head-butt heard around the world. Zidane, or Zissou as he is known, became the first captain ever ejected from a World Cup championship match. The announcers denounced Zissou for committing a "classless act and the French team withered, eventually losing to a demonstrably inferior Italian squad in overtime. The following morning the international tabloids with their typical grace, gave Zissou a new nickname: "butt-head. Less examined was the fact that Zissou was literally carrying a lightly regarded French team to the finals. Less examined was the fact that Zissou had been grabbed, kicked, and fouled all game by the vaunted Italian defense. Less examined was the fact that Zissou had almost left minutes earlier due to injury, his arm wilting off his shoulder like a wet leaf of spinach. This unholy amount of pressure is the primary reason the 34-year-old veteran snapped and planted Materazzi into the pitch.

Now the great mystery is what set Zissou off. What could Materazzi have possibly said to send him over the edge? Answers are beginning to filter out. According to a FIFA employee transcribing what was said during the match, Materazzi,s called Zissou a "big Algerian ****. A Brazilian television program that claims to have used a lip-reader said Materazzi called Zissou,s sister "a *****. The highly respected French anti-racist coalition SOS Racisme issued a press release stating, "According to several very well informed sources from the world of football, it would seem [Materazzi] called Zissou a 'dirty terrorist'."

Materazzi, in an answer that can only be called Clintonian, said, "It is absolutely not true. I didn't call him a terrorist. Of course he didn,t comment on what he did call him. Zissou himself has only said cryptically that he would reveal what Materazzi said "in the coming days."

Right now, we do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt what was said but all the circumstantial evidence points at least toward a variant of SOS Racisme's claim. Zissou is the son of Algerian immigrants who has sparred verbally with Europe's far-right political machine for more than a decade. He is an outspoken anti-racist on a team that has defined itself by its multiculturalism and stubborn insistence to stand up against bigotry both inside and outside the sport. Materazzi on the other hand, will be playing this year for the Italian team Lazio, where his father was the former coach. Lazio's fan club, The Ultras, are notorious for their Fascist-friendly politics. Lazio's hardcore Ultras, known as the "Irriducibili," have members in Italy's extra-parliamentary far right and try to use the club to recruit. The group has frequently uses racist and anti-Semitic banners, one time hanging a 50-foot banner that said their opponents were a "team of ******s."

It,s wrong to taint Materazzi for the actions of Lazio,s fans, but there is more. Earlier this season in a match that pitted Messina against Inter in Sicily, Messina's star African player Marc Zoro famously picked up the ball and walked off the pitch in protest of the monkey chants rained upon him by Inter supporters. In a stirring act of solidarity, many of the Inter players immediately showed support for Zoro's actions. But one opponent yelled, "Stop that, Zoro, you're just trying to make a name for yourself." That opponent's name was Marco Materazzi.

At the start of this tournament I wrote a soccer column with my colleague John Cox, called Racism Stalks the Cup. We expressed our concern that the monkey chants, banana peels, and peanuts raining down on African players this year would continue on the sport's grandest stage. This largely did not occur. But then in the final act, at the moment of most exquisite tension, it seems racism may have actually emerged from the shadows. I, for one, am damn glad that when it did, it ran smack into Zissou's beautiful head.

We don,t know with iron certainty what Materazzi said, but if it turns out to be more of the anti-Black, anti-Muslim, garbage that has infected soccer like a virus, the Italian team should forfeit the cup. They should voluntarily give the greatest trophy of them all back to FIFA as a statement that some things in this world are more important than sports. Racism will be the death of soccer if things don,t change. Italy can set the sport back on course, with one simple, stunning gesture. Give the damn thing back.

reds1869
07-11-2006, 06:07 PM
We don,t know with iron certainty what Materazzi said, but if it turns out to be more of the anti-Black, anti-Muslim, garbage that has infected soccer like a virus, the Italian team should forfeit the cup. They should voluntarily give the greatest trophy of them all back to FIFA as a statement that some things in this world are more important than sports. Racism will be the death of soccer if things don,t change. Italy can set the sport back on course, with one simple, stunning gesture. Give the damn thing back.

Wow. I'm all for rooting out racism in sports, but that's crazy talk. Italy should give back the cup for one players biggoted comments? If that's the case, every team that's ever won the thing should probably hand it back.

Cedric
07-11-2006, 08:20 PM
Sounds like an immature, emotion filled article based on nothing but hearsay. Not worth the time.

People are always trying to put blame on anyone else but the responsible party anymore, it's sad. No matter what was said you are a moron for saying someone should be patted on the back for headbutting another human being.

I particularly like the "it's wrong to taint Materazzi for lazio's fans". But yet the guy did it before and he continues on in the next paragraph lol.

Nugget
07-11-2006, 09:53 PM
There's a lot of reported/rumours/lipreading experts commentary going on about what Materazzi said to Zidane. In any event it is clear that Materazzi has said something derogatory (more than likely about a female member of Zidane's family) and Zidane has reacted in a way that was neither within the laws of the game nor in manner comensurate with his status in football. However, I am sure no one would condone any "trash talking" that was racists or derogatory about someone other than the players involved. Indeed it would run in the face of the FIFA edict (although many things would seem to have done so during this world cup). I mean if FIFA was serious about stamping out racism in the sport, rather than getting the players to read out a pithy speech before a game and posing for a photo, if Materazzi were found to have abused Zidane or his family racially then he too should face the consequences.

Rojo
07-11-2006, 10:04 PM
Sounds like an immature, emotion filled article based on nothing but hearsay. Not worth the time.

People are always trying to put blame on anyone else but the responsible party anymore, it's sad. No matter what was said you are a moron for saying someone should be patted on the back for headbutting another human being.

I particularly like the "it's wrong to taint Materazzi for lazio's fans". But yet the guy did it before and he continues on in the next paragraph lol.

He may have unfairly tainted Matterazi by association but his story is not based on hearsay.

Check out this Franklin Foer article from, gulp, 9/11/01. Foer recently published the bestseller "How Soccer Explains the World".

http://www.slate.com/id/115070/

Mussolini's Team
By Franklin Foer
Posted Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, at 3:00 AM ET

The Shalom Cup, held last week, was the most unlikely soccer tournament in the world. Not because it showcased Jewish soccer players, including Maccabi Haifa, one of the few stellar Israeli sides. What made the Shalom Cup truly unlikely was its host: the Roman club S.S. Lazio.

Although the S.S. stands for societá sportiva, Lazio merits the abbreviation's worst connotations. Of all the clubs in Europe, each with its own goon squad of skinhead supporters, Lazio fans are easily the most racist, anti-Semitic, pro-fascist, and despicable of the bunch. The management of Lazio intended the Shalom Cup to be both an act of reparations and public relations. But even in the club's moment of contrition, Lazio's fans couldn't suppress their hate. Four days before the tournament, the team's anti-Semitic fan clubs (called ultras) announced they would boycott the pro-Semitic cup. When a relatively mediocre Ivory Coast club beat mighty Lazio to hoist the Shalom trophy, a pathetic crowd of 10,000 fans bothered to show up.

Lazio has always had unsavory connections and a spot on the brownshirts' end of the political spectrum. Mussolini adored the team, frequently appearing in the stands. Il Duce even built Lazio's current stadium, replacing the old Stadio del Partito Nazionale Fascista. In part, Mussolini was drawn to Silvio Piola, the team's unstoppable striker. But the fascists had a deeper attraction to the club. Founded in 1900 by Italian army officers, the club shrouded itself in a martial ethos. The team's logo, a strident-looking eagle, looks as if it could have been ripped off of one of Mussolini's caps. And with its north Rome fan base, Lazio attracted the conservative shopkeepers and bumpkins who constituted fascism's rank and file.

As the memory of Mussolini has grown distant, Lazio's affection for fascism has increased. Rightist parties like the old Alleanza Nazionale treated the team's stadium as their recruiting grounds. In the '80s, the ultras' politics acquired a racist, xenophobic bent as Italy attracted immigrants and Italian soccer attracted Brazilian and African players. New venomous slogans and banners began appearing in the Curva Nord, the ultra section of Lazio's stadium. Before one game last year, police seized 60 different racist and anti-Semitic banners but missed several large ones, including a 50-meter-long banner that taunted fans from a cross-town rival by declaring that they had a "Black Squad, Jewish Home End." At another match against Roma, the opponents were greeted with a sign that told them, "Auschwitz is your town, the ovens your houses." The ultras have been known to appropriate the Nazi font when spelling the "S.S." in S.S. Lazio. And when watching Lazio's matches on the Fox Sports World cable network, you can still catch glimpses of Mussolini's visage adoringly displayed by the crowd.

The ultras aren't merely making political statements. They like to put their slogans into action. During the previous two seasons, police tied Lazio's ultras to several acts of domestic terrorism. One planted a bomb at a museum dedicated to Italy's World War II resistance. Rome police also defused a Lazio bomb at a theater showing a documentary on Adolf Eichmann. On other occasions, Lazio fans have desecrated Jewish cemeteries and beaten players from opposing teams. Even by the appalling standards of European soccer, Lazio fans are object lessons in amorality.

Remarkably, Lazio reflects its fans' sentiments. Unlike Roma or almost every other team in the Series A, Lazio's roster is devoid of black players. When it once imported one, Dutchman Aron Winter, he quickly left after the team's fans hounded him with chants of "****** Jew." Rather suspiciously, nearly all of Lazio's current foreign imports hail from countries with fascist pasts—Chile, Argentina, and Serbia. The team's defender, Sinisa Mihajlovic, unabashedly trumpets his devotion to Slobodan Milosevic and his friendship with the Serbian paramilitary leader Arkan, whose band of thugs raped and pillaged their way across Bosnia. When Arkan was killed, Mihajlovic placed a wistful memorial notice in a Belgrade daily.

If that didn't convince Lazio's management to distance themselves from Mihajlovic—or, better yet, ship him back to Belgrade—his behavior on the field should have. Last season, a player of Senegalese descent accused Mihajlovic of calling him a "****ing black monkey." (Asked about the allegations, he replied: "I called him black ****. I didn't call him black monkey.") Alas, Lazio's punishment of Mihajlovic amounted to little more than a forced public apology. His coach even defended him: "I don't know whether you can call it racism. It's just making fun of someone." And moments after Mihajlovic made the apology, at a home game, fans began making monkey noises every time a Nigerian player touched the ball.

For a time, the embarrassment of Lazio could be hidden. The team wallowed in the middle of the Italian table. But in the late '90s it emerged as a European powerhouse, winning the UEFA Cup and lo scudetto, the national championship. Lazio's rise has come at the expense of the league's health, and the club's ethos has infected the entire culture of Italian soccer. Some of Italy's best players, including Zinedine Zidane, have fled to the better behaved, higher quality Spanish league. Others, like the magnificent Brazilian Cafu, have bemoaned the racism and openly considered leaving Italy behind. Even Lazio's President Sergio Cragnotti talks about his club in tones of disgust, calling its fans "imbeciles," and frequently threatens resignation. After handing the Africans the Shalom cup, however, he briefly cheered up and even described the moment as a "sign of civilization." It was Lazio's first.

Chip R
07-12-2006, 01:20 PM
Imagine Michael Jordan in his last game, with the score tied in overtime, knocking out his defender with a punch to the throat.

If that happened, a foul would be called on the defender for getting in Jordan's way.

Steve4192
07-12-2006, 01:31 PM
Zidane violated one of the cardinal rules of any team sport ... don't screw your teammates by losing your cool on the field. If another player says something completely out of line, you suck it up and keep playing and then settle the matter via a postgame ass-whooping.

RedFanAlways1966
07-12-2006, 01:50 PM
Zidane violated one of the cardinal rules of any team sport ... don't screw your teammates by losing your cool on the field. If another player says something completely out of line, you suck it up and keep playing and then settle the matter via a postgame ass-whooping.

Exactly. 2 wrongs do not make a right. Think Italy did not know Zidane's history of losing his cool and doing something stupid? You better believe they knew and they knew he could end the thing with one header or one kick (I mean the proper way to use your head in a game of soccer). Does not make it okay to say bad things, but it also does not give Zidane the right to do something stupid and foolish either. And look who looked foolish after it was all said and done... Mr. Zidane as Italy held the trophy up high and celebrated.

NJReds
07-12-2006, 02:00 PM
Exactly. 2 wrongs do not make a right. Think Italy did not know Zidane's history of losing his cool and doing something stupid? You better believe they knew and they knew he could end the thing with one header or one kick (I mean the proper way to use your head in a game of soccer). Does not make it okay to say bad things, but it also does not give Zidane the right to do something stupid and foolish either. And look who looked foolish after it was all said and done... Mr. Zidane as Italy held the trophy up high and celebrated.

Add to that, we don't really know what was said, other than Mattarazzi confirming that it was an insult.

Professional soccer really came out looking bad from this WC; constant diving, whiny coaches, poor enforcement of the rules and topped off with one of the stars of the game completely losing his cool due to some on-field trash talking.

Right after this happened, I told friends of mine that Zidane would either apologize or play the race card. So far, though, he's said nothing.

NJReds
07-12-2006, 02:01 PM
Lippi resigned his position as Italy's coach.
Klinsmann resigned as Germany's coach. (To return to his family in the US. I wonder if he'll be the next US coach?)

dsmith421
07-12-2006, 02:04 PM
Being familiar with Materazzi's career as I am, the only thing I think Zidane did wrong was aim too low.

Materazzi is a low-grade thug, and if evidence comes out that he did abuse Zidane with racial or ethnic epithets, then in my opinion he should be stripped of his winner's medal (not punishing the entire Italian team) and banned for life.

NJReds
07-12-2006, 02:36 PM
Being familiar with Materazzi's career as I am, the only thing I think Zidane did wrong was aim too low.

Materazzi is a low-grade thug, and if evidence comes out that he did abuse Zidane with racial or ethnic epithets, then in my opinion he should be stripped of his winner's medal (not punishing the entire Italian team) and banned for life.

Zidane doesn't have a stellar history, either.

NJReds
07-12-2006, 03:15 PM
Seems to be much ado about nothing...


Materazzo and Zizou Speak Out
Wednesday 12 July, 2006

Both Marco Materazzi and Zinedine Zidane have given their side of the story leading up to the disgraceful head-butt in the World Cup Final.

Words were exchanged between the players before the Frenchman violently struck Materazzi in the chest. Lip-readers have been unable to clarify exactly what was said.

“I want to ask forgiveness from all the children who watched that. There was no excuse for it,” said Zidane this evening.

“I want to be open and honest about it because it was seen by two or three billion people watching on television and millions and millions of children were watching. I won’t repeat exactly what was said, but it was very personal and concerned my mother and sister."

However, Materazzi has also spoken out against claims his provocation was enough to warrant punishment from FIFA.

“I said nothing that had anything to do with racism, religion or politics,” the defender told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “I didn’t even mention his mother. I lost my mother at the age of 15 and to this day am still moved to tears talking about her.”

There were suggestions in the world’s media that Zidane was infuriated by an alleged comment because his mother is currently battling a serious illness.

“Naturally, I had no idea Zidane’s mother was in hospital. I wish them all the best and a speedy recovery. As for Zidane, he has always been my hero and I admire him a great deal.”

The Frenchman was sent off in extra time for that head-butt and could now be stripped of his Golden Ball award as Player of the Tournament. A FIFA investigation has begun into the incident.

reds1869
07-12-2006, 05:32 PM
Zidane has apologized...sort of.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5169342.stm

Nugget
07-12-2006, 10:17 PM
Lippi resigned his position as Italy's coach.
Klinsmann resigned as Germany's coach. (To return to his family in the US. I wonder if he'll be the next US coach?)

Not to burst your bubble or anything but in his retirement announcement he stated that he had not been offered the US job.

paintmered
07-12-2006, 10:23 PM
Not to burst your bubble or anything but in his retirement announcement he stated that he had not been offered the US job.


.......yet. :pray:

NJReds
07-13-2006, 08:37 AM
Not to burst your bubble or anything but in his retirement announcement he stated that he had not been offered the US job.

Arena's still the coach. Until they come to a decision on his future, I doubt they'll be naming a successor. But it's been rumored, so I threw it out there.

M2
07-13-2006, 09:56 AM
Arena's contract runs out at the end of the year and it's not going to be renewed.

Seeing that Klinsmann's a free agent and he lives in the U.S., I assume he's become the top candidate to take over when Arena steps down.

As for Materazzi and Zidane, I don't think anyone should be stripped of anything. Zidane was wrong to throw the headbutt regardless of what Materazzi said and Materazzi clearly said something vile to draw the blow and is now lying through his teeth about it. I don't think official FIFA action is needed to sort out those rather obvious truths.

M2
07-13-2006, 10:00 AM
Want more scoring? Two words...No Goalkeepers. ;)

Hey, that's what France did.

NJReds
07-13-2006, 11:27 AM
As for Materazzi and Zidane, I don't think anyone should be stripped of anything. Zidane was wrong to throw the headbutt regardless of what Materazzi said and Materazzi clearly said something vile to draw the blow and is now lying through his teeth about it. I don't think official FIFA action is needed to sort out those rather obvious truths.

Could you imagine if the NBA or NFL opened an inquiry after every trash-talking incident? :rolleyes: This world cup provided further evidence that most soccer players are drama queens.

dsmith421
07-13-2006, 02:22 PM
Could you imagine if the NBA or NFL opened an inquiry after every trash-talking incident? This world cup provided further evidence that most soccer players are drama queens.

If there was a high-profile allegation of racial abuse that culminated in a fight in Game 7 of the NBA Finals or during the Super Bowl, you bet your life the NBA or NFL would investigate.

As for your other comment--no one is forcing you to watch, comment on, or deal with a sport you dislike. Watch a sporting event where the referees don't influence the game and the players don't act like drama queens, like say, the NBA Finals. (head explodes)

dsmith421
07-13-2006, 02:26 PM
Zidane doesn't have a stellar history, either.

Unquestionably.

The difference is that Zidane has gained worldwide respect and admiration for his on- and off-the-field work over the last decade while Materazzi is a thug known best (before this) for being one of the most violent cheapshot artists in Europe.

NJReds
07-13-2006, 02:32 PM
If there was a high-profile allegation of racial abuse that culminated in a fight in Game 7 of the NBA Finals or during the Super Bowl, you bet your life the NBA or NFL would investigate.

I believe even Zidane said it wasn't racially motivated. But apparently a lot of really poor lipreaders jumped to the wrong conclusion


As for your other comment--no one is forcing you to watch, comment on, or deal with a sport you dislike.

I like soccer. I follow the European leagues and I watch it whenever possible. And I watch it more than the NBA - which has it's share of whiners, too.

But I don't think the sport put it's best foot forward in this World Cup, that's what was so frustrating to me. You can disagree, but don't be presumptuous to know what I like or dislike.

NJReds
07-14-2006, 01:26 PM
Not a surprise. Shouldn't be long before they contact Kleinsmann


U.S. Soccer won't renew Arena's contract
By BRIAN TRUSDELL, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Bruce Arena is out as coach of the United States men's soccer team less than three weeks after the Americans' first-round exit from the World Cup.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said Friday that Arena's contract would not be renewed when it runs out at the end of the year. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, Gulati said, adding that no potential candidates have been contacted.

Arena, who coached the U.S. for eight years, leaves as the most successful coach in the history of the national team, having won more than twice as many games (71) as any of his predecessors.

He guided the United States to two CONCACAF Gold Cup titles and two straight appearances in the World Cup. But the latest trip to soccer's biggest tournament was a disappointment, with the United States being eliminated following a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the first round in Germany.

"Eight years is a long period," Gulati said. "I'm not saying we need to change direction, the direction Bruce set is very positive. But having a fresh approach, after eight years, which is a very long time, is the strongest factor."

Gulati praised Arena for his accomplishments and said he had done "an extraordinary job."

"I am proud of how far the organization has come over the last eight years, and I am extremely optimistic about the future of the sport in our country," Arena said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. "As for me, I am planning to take some time off to weigh my future opportunities."

NJReds
07-17-2006, 10:34 AM
Looks like Materazzi will get a 2-game suspension. Pity, I would like to see him take the field v. France in EU qualifying.


Matrix facing ban?
Sunday 16 July, 2006

Sources in Italy suggest that Marco Materazzi will be suspended for two games for his conduct in the World Cup Final.

The Inter stopper was the victim of a head butt from Zinedine Zidane, but a FIFA disciplinary hearing is to investigate the severe insults that provoked the Frenchman’s rush of blood.

Zizou has claimed that Materazzi made comments about his mother and sister but the ex-Everton defender adamantly denies this.

“I lost my mother at the age of 15 and to this day am still moved to tears talking about her,” he insisted.

A fine is inevitable but reports in the Italian Press also state that the controversial Materazzi will also be banned for two competitive fixtures.

While any action taken against Zidane will be merely symbolic, a suspension for Materazzi would mean that the Azzurri had to manage without him for their Euro 2008 qualification openers against Lithuania, and possibly for a heated clash against France.

However, the player’s agent claims that Matrix was pleased with his meeting with FIFA’s disciplinary commission last Friday and hopes that this will be the end of the affair.

“Marco was optimistic. He gave his version of what happened,” said Claudio Vigorelli. “He will not have to return to Zurich at a later stage.”

Zidane will present his side of the story on Thursday with a verdict due to follow later in the day.

NJReds
07-20-2006, 10:03 AM
So it's settled. As I thought, much ado about nothing.


FIFA punishes Zidane, Materazzi

July 20, 2006
ZURICH, Switzerland (Ticker) - France playmaker Zinedine Zidane has been handed a three-match ban and a fine for his World Cup final head-butt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi, who himself has been suspended for two games and fined for provoking the incident.

With Zidane having quit soccer after the World Cup final, the ban is academic, but the 34-year-old instead will spend three days working with world governing body FIFA.

Zidane was fined 7,500 Swiss francs ($6,000) while Materazzi must pay 5000 Swiss francs ($4,000) for the incident, which occurred in extra time of the World Cup final with the match poised at 1-1.

Italy, which had been under pressure before Zidane was sent off, went on to win the final 5-3 on penalties while the France midfielder later complained that Materazzi had provoked him with remarks about his family.

“Both players stressed that Materazzi’s comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature,” confirmed a FIFA statement.

“During the course of their hearings both players also apologised to FIFA for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident.”

There was speculation that Zidane may have the World Cup Golden Ball award taken away from him, but FIFA have confirmed that he will be allowed to keep the award.