Tragedy in Berlin


Zidane is redcarded after headbutt


Zinedine Zidane ended his legendary career with a red card in Berlin. Italy beat France in penalty kicks to win the 2006 World Cup. However, the story of the day is once again Zinedine Zidane.

After scoring on a coolly taken penalty kick and almost putting France ahead with a powerful header, Zidane lost his cool in overtime and headbutted Italian defender Materazzi after an exchange of words. Whatever Materazzi said to Zidane, Zidane’s reaction earned him an unquestioned red card.

Zidane’s expulsion likely cost the French the game. For most of the second half and overtime, France dominated the game. But with Zidane and Henry missing for the penalty kicks, it was always going to be an uphill battle. Italy made no mistakes in the penalties and put the game away.

I am sure in time it will come out what led Zidane to hit out at Materazzi, but in one moment of madness, Zidane lost his chance at immortality. Today was not only a tragedy for France, it was a tragedy for football.

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16 Responses to Tragedy in Berlin

  1. Ingrid says:

    As the french say, c’est dommage! Well, most likely ‘merde’ and all kinds of other outbursts. It apparently was not the first time he’d lose his cool. My American husband was talking to the tv like, ‘these guys need to do this and that’ after which I said, pfaa.. these guys have been running for a few hours, they’re pooped! It’s not like football where it’s stop and go stop and go!!
    Good for Italy, too bad for French. I have to say though, I thought it was funny to see the Italians being so happy and excited, that they were fooling around with the worldcup before it was presented to them, not even standing at attention for the national (US)..hands over the heart and standing at attention..thought it was a funny difference..
    what a game! (all of the last hour I saw of it lol)

  2. Mash says:


    I crossposted this on DKos. There’s a lively discussion going on:

  3. Ingrid says:

    Mash, check out one of the comments on the game on Mahmoud’s Den Apparently Matarozzo is known for a few tricks up his sleeve
    check it out

  4. Alfredo says:

    A pity, Zidane’s reaction.

    From a strict soccer rules point of view, however, it appears to me that the referee failed to adhere to the Laws of the Game. Zidane should not have received the red card notwithstanding his deplorable reaction.

    While a referee may act on the advice of assistant referees for incidents he has not seen, he cannot do so AFTER restarting play — which I believe was the case here.

    Further, it appears to me that the assistant referee did NOT see the incident either. He acted only after watching the replay on the screen following Buffon’s vociferous complaints.

    To be clear, I am not at all defending or justifying Zidane’s reaction. I find it unequivocally deplorable, especially coming from someone his stature during a World Cup final match. But two wrongs don’t make it right.

  5. Mash says:

    German news is reporting that Materazzi twice called Zidane’s sister a prostitute according to analysis of the video and lip reading. I’m trying to get more info.

    I wish Zidane had not done what he did. But I will say this, I have a younger sister, and if someone said that to me I might have hit him a lot harder than Zidane did. But that’s just me. I will grant that me hitting out would still be wrong and I would have to accept the punishment.

  6. Alfredo says:


    If I may, I’d like to share with you this inter-generational perspective. My dad posits two things:

    First, he argues, Materazzi should’ve also been disciplined by the referee for provoking Zidane, perhaps more so for being the obvious instigator.

    Two, he does not fully fault Zidane for reacting the way he did. He thinks it was a natural and necessary honoris causa act against Materazzi’s tantalizing transgression.

    I’d agree with my dad regarding his first point — both acts were deserving of disciplinary action. But I admit to being torn regarding his second point. On a strictly rational level, I disagree — best to deny Materazzi the effect (reward) of his action by ignoring it.

    But I am not 100% sure I can disagree with him emotionally. As you, chances are that I would’ve reacted similarly if someone had insulted my sister — or any other member of my family.

  7. Bengali Fob says:

    I heard the racist part, but not the prostitue part. That Matterazzi guy was everywhere when things went wrong in that game (wrong not just for France). :-w

    Serously though. As a recently converted Zidane fan, I feel devastated by the viciousness of the foul committed by him. Granted that he was provoked, but why couldn’t he just shove the guy instead of the headbutt?! 😮

    AAAAaaaaaggghhh! :((

    Check this person’s comment about Zidane:

  8. Mash says:

    Fob, the guy you linked to first of all is quite racist. I suspect that he might be a follower of Le Pen based on his posts. He also believes, per his post, that George W Bush was reelected in 2004 by God. I probably don’t need to go on much.

    His contention is that the French press made Zidane into a great player even though he was just merely talented like a lot of others. I should point out that Zidane is a 3 time FIFA World Footballer of the Year, has won the World Cup, the European Cup, and the Champions League. Almost every serious sports journalist in the world calls Zidane the best player of his generation. If there was any doubt from his years of magical play, his performance against Brazil should have allayed those.

    But, the poster you linked to cant see past his own politics to the soccer.

    I am still in shock over what happened in the final. But you will find that a lot of the racist followers of Le Pen in France will now milk this as a sign of the inferiority of the minorities in France. One would expect nothing less from these gutter dwellers.

  9. Mash says:

    Britain’s Daily Mail has a more extensive piece on what Materazzi said to Zidane. The discrepancy between the German and the British paper is that the former said the insult was hurled at his sister whereas the latter says the insult was hurled at his mother. Both may be right.

    Here’s the Daily Mail article:

    Her’s the article from Bild (courtesy my German friend):,rendertext=614432.html

    Apperantly Materazzi has quite a history of violence in league play and was once headbutted by Ukrainian striker Shevchenko because of similar racist and ethnic insults.

    Here’s video of Materazzi against AC Milan:

    And some of Materazzi’s greatest hits:

    I’m beginning to think Zidane didnt hit him hard enough b-(

  10. Alfredo says:

    Thanks for the links and shedding light into this. As Bengali Fob, I am a recently converted fan of Zidane (since his match against Brazil in fact) and am left both perplexed by what happened on Sunday and wishing it had not.

    In a related piece of news, Zidane won the best player award for his performance in the World Cup. At one point I thought that Sunday’s incident would’ve denied him the Golden Ball award.

  11. Mash says:

    Alfredo, I was pondering your comments about what your father said. I agree with you that there is a natural instinct to protect the honor of one’s parents from insults. On the other hand, our rational side needs to prevail in civilized society. On the soccer field under such passions I can imagine that it is hard.

    One note at the end of the Daily Mail story that did not register on me earlier. They are saying that Zidane’s mom is seriously ill and was taken to the hospital Sunday morning before the game. So, if that thug Materazzi was insulting Zidane’s mom, I can understand how and why Zidane would react. If Materazzi knew that Zidane’s mom was in the hospital, that would make his comments even filthier.

  12. doro says:

    I am a German and therefore biased. But I do think it was intentional. Materazzi insulted Zizou because he knew, he would react like this. Nice way to get rid of him. There are report that maybe for racial slurs Italy might be disqualified. Serves the right. …Remember Frings…A fine Champion, Italy is winning by cheating, insulting, diving, denouncing, anything but playing football. I am fiercely proud of the 3rd place of our team, a 3rd place won with brave hearts and fairness!

  13. doro says:

    I am a German and therefore biased. But I do think it was intentional. Materazzi insulted Zizou because he knew, he would react like this. Nice way to get rid of him. There are reports that maybe for racial slurs Italy might be disqualified. Serves them right. …Remember Frings…A fine Champion, Italy is winning by cheating, insulting, diving, denouncing, anything but playing football. I am fiercely proud of the 3rd place of our team, a 3rd place won with brave hearts and fairness!

  14. Bengali Fob says:

    Holy crap Doc! I went on to read other articles by that guy I linked you to and he sure is racist! He tries to hide it though by sounding ‘rational’ and all. Geez, I’m going to have to tell people not to go to that link anymore…

    Wait, I’m sure otehrs will figure it out on their own. If they don’t then I’ve just added another fan for Le Pen… Crap.

  15. Mash says:

    doro, I think Frings got a real bum rap. Cruz slapped him and he was reacting. They could have suspended him after the tournament. That really hurt Germany. I wish Klinsmann would stay on – its a shame he has decided to leave.

    Zizou appearance on French TV pretty much confirmed the insults Materazzi hurled at him. If someone where to insult my mother and my sister like that, they might expect a reaction. Zidane made a mistake, he has now apologized for it. He is still my favorite soccer player.

    Fob, stop spreading hate :d
    I wasnt sure what you were saying when you linked to him. You did it without comment so I wasnt sure how to read it. Hmm…is Fob a closet Le Pen fan :)]

  16. Bengali Fob says:

    That’s just sooooo funny Doc! Bengali Fob a Le Pen fan! =))

    Okay, enough of that. :-t Me a Le Pen fan… sheesh doc, how could you think that? :((

    Anyway, yeah, I saw both their interviews. Did you know that FIFA is thinking aobut taking away Zidane’s Golden Ball award?!?!?!? 😮

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