Monday, July 10, 2006

A whimper

France seems very quiet today. Yesterday's World Cup final has been dismissed with a Gallic shrug. The Italians were clever to bait Zidane, so that he would be sent off and unavailable for the penalty kick finale. It's reported that when Materazzi hung round Zidane's neck, he called him a terrorist; a few seconds later, the bull from Real Madrid butted him in the chest.

The whole World Cup episode was bizarre. The French team was widely dismissed as too old: no one dreamed that they would be in the final. Le Pen complained that there were too many blacks on a team that represented France. Almost half the team refused to sing the national anthem. Yet the exploits of Ribery, Henry, Barthez and, above all, Zidane will be with us for a long time. It's all a bit sad.

P.S.   The Times enlisted the help of an expert lip reader to determine the precise nature of the dialogue that caused Zidane to react in such a manner.   After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, she claimed that Materazzi called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore" before adding "so just f*** off"   for good measure.   Paris Match reported that Materazzi called Zizou a queer and his sister a whore.   All a bit much for a sensitive footballer.

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