Sunday, July 09, 2006
They did it! The Italians won the World Cup! What an unbelievable game. I've been disappointed in this year's World Cup overall, because I felt the referees were giving out too many red & yellow cards, and I also hate it when so many players take dives and fake injuries every time they even so much as brush up against the opposition. I wanted one of three teams to win: 1.) USA -- and they absolutely sucked! I mean, Ghana beat them, a country the size of Rhode Island 2.) Britain -- Beckham can only bend it so far and really that's all he can do -- the guy is the ultimate one-trick pony, and 3.) Italy -- I supported them since I'm 1/2 Italian. And the paesans came through! With a record of 0-3 in World Cup games decided by penalty kicks, the Italians must have been a little concerned when it went to a shootout. The fact that one of France's best players, Zinedine Zidane, was kicked out of the game late in overtime for headbutting an Italian player probably hurt their chances a little, but when Trezegut, one of the few French players with fresh legs missed his penalty kick, the Italians saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. It was Zidane's final game and he went out looking like a thug. His headbutt was a cheap shot of the highest magnitude and was really uncalled for. I would compare it to something like Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear or Latrell Sprewell choking out his coach when he was playing for the lowly Golden State Warriors. (I was actually almost hired a few years back to do some ads for the Warriors, but they were really unhappy with the slogan I wrote for them: "The Warriors. We suck now more than ever.") I bet there are a lot of French people right now screaming "No Fair!" and most likely being really rude to everyone around them, but hey--Italy won it and they deserved to win. One thing I can say is that in the final I think they should not let the game be decided by penalty kicks. It's like a tie game in basketball being decided entirely by free throws. It's anti-climactic in my opinion. The only other time a World Cup Championship game was decided by a shootout was in 1994, when Italy lost to Brazil 3-2. Italy has won the World Cup 4 times now: 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006. The next World Cup is in South Africa in 2010. Also, hats off to Germany for doing a great job as host of the 2006 WC. There were no major incidents between fans from different countries, although some British soccer hooligans eventually got bored with all the security and ended up beating the crap out of each other. I am sure they're celebrating like crazy over in San Francisco's North Beach right now, and I hope the vino flows all night. It will be hard to find Chianti or Peroni in any SF liquor stores tomorrow. Italy won the World Cup and all I can say is: "Viva Italia!"
For a recap of the entire World Cup 2006 as well as some really good writing about the tournament, visit www.worldcupblog.org. It's a fun blog with a lot of good content about WC 2006. Also, www.cbssportsline.com really stepped up for the World Cup and had some great coverage, which is no surprise!