Sunday, July 09, 2006

Zidane Gives Italy Headway

As most people know, today, (July 9th 2006) saw the victory of Italy over France in the FIFA World Cup Final. (I shouldn't have to say this but...that's soccer.)

It was a fantastic match. Sort of. It's hard to describe something that was both exciting and dissapointing at the same time. In my opinion, neither team played to their full potential. I don't think for a second that Italy's win makes them a superior team. The fact is that they were tied one-all with France until the penalty shoot-outs, which, if you ask me, isn't really a test of soccer skill. I mean, let's face it, there's so much more to the game than just goal-scoring. The skill that goes along with doing well in penalty kicks should hardly be the deciding factor in choosing the world's best team.

The real hunk of drama in this game revolved around team captain Zinedine Zidane. This guy is widely considered one of the best players in the world. In France, the man has practically attained God status. In April, 2006, Zidane anounced that he would be retiring after the 2006 FIFA World Cup. So there was quite a lot of focus on Zidane today as fans hoped he would bring the cup home for them in his final glorious match; a magnificent end to a magnificent carreer.

Well, that didn't happen. Quite the opposite, in fact. I had several of my friends over to watch the match today, and we were all bewildered as to what provocation drove Zidane to act as he did.

The atmosphere was tense. The match was in its 20th minute of 30 minute overtime with both teams holding a point each. According to Wikipedia, Italian Defender Marco Materazzi uttered an unspecified racial slur directed at Zidane. Moments later, Zidane was caught on camera headbutting Materazzi in the chest. He freaking headbutted the guy! In the chest! What a spectacle.

Here's video footage.

My fellow France supporters and I were...well, pretty unsure what to think. It was pretty funny! That is, in an immature sort of way. So on the one hand we loved him for it. On the other hand we were furious that he went and did something that potentially sabotaged his team's chances. What was he thinking? At that time, though, we didn't know about the whole racial slur thing. Now I have mixed feelings about the incident. I can understand a guy under so much pressure losing it over something like a racial slur...then again, it seems like a bit of an overreaction on his part. It's a real shame that his carreer had to end on such a sour, red-carded note. And even more of a shame that, whether it's Zidane's fault or not, that incident had such an effect on the outcome of the game. I mean, that's only speculation, of course; but Zidane is one of France's best scorers. Perhaps he would have succeeded where his replacement failed in the penalty kicks. Well, he's retired now, so we'll never know.

On the whole it was a great match. Some fabulous saves by the Italian goalie Buffon and some other really valiant efforts by both teams made this match a lot of fun to watch. It's one for the books, that's for sure. As much as I wanted France to win.......I guess I'm happy for Italy. All of those guys are a lot better at kicking a ball around than I am, so I can hardly sit here lethargically typing this block of text and say they didn't deserve to win.

...Some Other Misc. Updates:
  • It looks like I've been neglecting my blog lately, which is true - but not because I've lost interest...just because there hasn't been much to write about. I'm making up for it with a long entry now.
  • I went to see Pirates 2 with Rockwell and Katelin on Saturday. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I did. It was quite entertaining, and the special effects combined with some of the artistic direction were awfully neat. If you've any interest in this, you've probably heard that it ends in a cliffhanger, which is true. Although it wasn't as severe a cliffhanger as I expected. Anyhoo, I reccomend it, especially if you enjoy slapstickish action and a lot of tongue and cheek. But see the first one first, if you haven't already.
  • On Wednesday I had an interview with a new Booster Juice location that's opened just a couple blocks from my parents' house. The girl who interviewed me told me she'd be my manager if I was hired. I got some really positive vibes from her, and I think there's a very good chance I'll get the job...which would be wonderful.
  • I started playing World of Warcraft again. My Tauren Druid named Bothar is currently level 49. He's on Eredar. My intent when I resubscribed was to use WoW as something to do only when I'm bored and there's really nothing else to do. For the first couple of days, I'll admit that that resolve was out the window and I absolutely binged, gaining 3 levels in the space of a couple days. Fortunately I got my resolve back again, or maybe it just lost some of its starting-up flare, I don't know. At any rate, my focus this week is on the following items:
  • 1) Finding a place to live in Guelph; 2) Sending in the remaining items Guelph still requires of me (namely a highly specific portrait of myself for the Photo ID); 3) Doing my driving lessons which I've been neglecting for far too long. My first one since before I wrote exams is tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. 4) Pursuing employment at Booster Juice. They were supposed to call me on Friday and set up a second interview for Monday or Tuesday and I never heard from them,
In the meantime I'm still working for my dad helping him clear out his place before he sells his property and retires at the end of the summer. Which reminds me, I have to get up in about four and a half hours to do just that. Better call it quits for tonight.

update: July 14, 2006. added video link and images.


At 4:51 PM, Blogger Rockwell said...

The Italians have have denied that it was any kind of racial slur, and it really doesn't matter at all what was said, No player has the right to resort to violence. Zidane has disgraced his country and the game of soccer.

ahha still was really funny.


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