A fitting final for the World Cup?
- 10 Jul 06, 12:34 AM
BERLIN - What did you think of the World Cup final?
I thought it was a really enjoyable game in which the momentum changed sides several times and contained no little drama - Zinedine Zidane's red card, his early penalty which brought the game to life, the penalty shoot-out and some truly remarkable celebrations from the ecstatic Italian players.
I spoke to some people afterwards who suggested that the winners were appropriate for the tournament - good but in no way great.
The theory went a bit like this - the tournament threatened to take off on several occasions but never really scaled the heights. The final likewise - a blistering start but then not really turning into what might be termed a classic.
I'm not so sure - what do you think?
Confusion reigned inside the stadium when Zidane was dismissed because the incident was not replayed on the two big screens.
I got the feeling that any neutrals - and there were plenty of them - suddenly started rooting for the French.
I was watching Zidane through my binoculars (a bit nerdy I know) in the minutes before his dismissal. Gianluigi Buffon had a long chat with him, then stroked his head in a most tender manner. Maybe some people were pressing his buttons - who knows?
Being an Englishman I can fully sympathise with the manner of their defeat. Certainly, I take no solace in any (well most) other teams losing on penalties.
I watched the France team as the Italians made their way onto the podium to collect their trophy and saw Fabien Barthez make his way back to the dressing room, unable to watch Fabio Cannavaro lift the trophy.
He was not on his own and one can only imagine what was running through Zidane's mind in the dressing room.
My seat was quite close to the area in which the Italian substitutes went through their warm-up routines.
Alessandro del Piero spent the entire second half until his introduction going through his various loosening-up routines and seemed to be completely in his own zone.
A group of Italians warmed up together. Del Piero was on his own, regularly looking towards the bench and making various gestures with his hands that suggested he thought his introduction was an extremely good idea.
Talking of Italian gesticulating I was slightly taken aback by the team's celebrations.
Having never witnessed a team win the World Cup before I suppose it might be par for the course but they seemed to rejoice by shoving each other to the floor in a somewhat rumbustious manner.
Lots of players celebrated by grabbing each other's heads and Gennaro Guttoso hardly looked unhappy at losing his shorts - wandering around with the barest of briefs between his crown jewels and a world audience of millions.
Even though we are talking about Italians it was obvious that the players could not find a suitable physical gesture to express the joy they felt.
I guess it was refreshing to see highly-paid, internationally famous players celebrating in such a pure, unadulterated manner.
And who knows - one day it might be England!