Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane: I tried to use my head but-t..

The name is Zidane, Zinedine Zidane.

DISCLAIMER: I too am a true admirer of Zidane's footballing skills. What he has done in the past 12 years for international football cannot be overshadowed by whatever happened in the 111th minute of the Italy vs France final match on 9th July 2006. Well, but neither does his stature permit his (re)action in the final against Italy. In fact, FIFA should soon be handing out an interesting 'penalty' to Zidane. Let's wait and watch till he enjoys the consolation - the 'golden ball' award. After all, if he couldn't bring home the World Cup for France, then..

Zinedine YZ (Yazid Zidane) indeed behaved like one. Don't worry if you did not understand what the previous statement meant, it's exclusively for those who understand Marathi well. While a lot has been and will be said about the (in)famous red card incident, this post just focusses on "what mattered" and "what did not matter" because of Zizou's head butt.

Horacio Elizondo, the match referee, would consider himself lucky. I mean, it's the second consecutive knockout match in this World Cup where he has handed out a red card (the previous one ended up in Wayne Rooney being sent out in the Quarter Finals against Portugal). It's the first time in FIFA World Cup history that someone has stood in as a referee in the opening match as well as the final match! Elizondo also awarded a horrendous penalty kick in the 7th minute of the final match, and the one who scored that penalty (our old Zizou), was told to leave the ground in the 111th minute. Well well, statisticians please note!

And as I promised, here is what matters and what doesn't (because of Zizou's head-butting):

5 things that matter:
  • Zidane wasn't even allowed to show his face at the 2006 World Cup presentation ceremony, despite being the French team's captain (Barthez wore the captain's arm band at the presentation)
  • Zidane rued what he did only seconds later - the momentary reaction to whatever was exchanged between him and Materazzi, followed with Zidane leaving the ground in tears
  • Zidane would surely feel frustrated everytime he recalls this incident, for the rest of his life, because he has no more role to play in international football
  • There would be immense pressure on Zidane (as well as the Italian Marco Materazzi) to disclose the exact words that were exchanged between the two
  • The same people who have hailed Zidane to super stardom will most certainly recall this incident everytime when they talk about Zidane
5 things that DO NOT matter:
  • Given the fact that only 9 minutes of play on the field was left, it made no difference whatsoever to the French team to have been playing with 10 men against Italy's 11
  • Zidane not being one of the penalty takers in the shoot out that ensued 9 minutes after him (Zidane) being sent off
  • Zidane wouldn't have to worry about being banned for any number of matches in the future, he is (supposedly) retiring anyways
  • Whatever sum of money he would have to pay as fine wouldn't make a wee bit of difference to the bank balance of someone like Zidane
  • Reading this post :-)
Argentina will wait till 2010 to lift the trophy. Are you wondering how Argentina came into the picture out of the blue? Of course, out of the (dark) blue!


At 9:37 AM, Blogger Atul Nulkar said...

I commented on my own blog by mistake. So for the record here it goes again...

It was very disappointing man. I am curious to hear Zidane's statement so that we know what really happened out there. Not that it's going to make a difference now.

It was a bizarre situation because Zizou had no reason to be so frustrated as to headbutt someone at such a crucial stage. France was clearly the better team in the match, and they pretty much dominated the second half! If not for Buffon standing tall at the goal post, Zidane's header could have easily sealed the match. Also, I think, France had a lot more shots attempted at the goal than Italy. They really stepped it up in the second half, until the incident happened.

Italy was the most consistent team alright, but I would still pick Germany as the team of the tournament. They played exciting, attacking, positive football and should have gone all the way. Yesterday's final was pretty ordinary for a WC game, there was hardly any class displayed. In fact, Germany-Portugal for the 3rd place was so much better, compared to France-Italy (Schweinsteiger was deadly!).

Regarding your things that matter and the things that don't:

1. I sincerely believe that it made a lot of difference to the French team to have been playing with 10 men against Italy's 11, even though only 9 minutes of play on the field was left. It's never over until the fad lady sings, my friend. You don't have to look beyond the Germany-Italy match just a few days ago. Italy managed to pull it off in the dying minutes, with not just one, but two goals. Also, here, it was a player of the calibre of Zidane, who is known to play his best during high intensity matches like these on the big stage and bring the best out of his team. Anything could have been possible.

Unfortunately ifs and buts are like pots and pans (not me, Mr. Sidhu says so), and Zizou let himself and the team down at the very moment when his presence was needed.

2. Contrary to what you say, I feel that Zidane (along with Henry and Viera) were missed during the penalties too. Not having three of your strongest players during the penalties is always going to be tough. I guess the manner in which Zidane had left the field surely played on France's minds, so can't say whether Henry and Viera would have made it through the PKs too!

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Storm said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:47 AM, Blogger Storm said...

Whoa man, but you can't not love that headbutt. It was awesome... match gayi khadde mein, Zidane should be proud of that headbutt... the 6'3" hulk went down like a sack of potatoes...

I'm loving it :D.

P.S. Love the title :)

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Storm said...

P.S. Let me be the first to congratulate you for hitting 3000 hits :).


At 6:03 AM, Blogger Aniket Anikhindi said...

Thanks dude.. for both comments above :) Party eh for the hits? Let's meet sometime first.. :)

And yeah, the headbutt in fact makes me think of Zidane's origins. No no, I don't care if he is of an Algerian Islamic origin or an African Zulu tribe, I think he belongs to the Ovis Aries breed (read sheep). Awesome ways of using one's head!


At 6:11 AM, Blogger Aniket Anikhindi said...

@ Atul:

dude, you know what, Trezeguet is a remarkable figure in the French outfit. I do not think he is anyways lesser in stature than Henry when it comes to penalties. I would add Zidane to the list too, but you'll immediately pounce on me for that, so I'll keep dear old Zizou outta that list. No one would agree (now that Italians have won) that Buffon made an early move to force Trezeguet into making a mistake. I'll leave it at that, what happened to Baggio in 1994 is what happened to Trezeguet in 2006.


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