Zidane and Materazzi given fine and ban

Former France captain Zinedine Zidane and Italy defender Marco Materazzi were both fined and banned by FIFA on Thursday after the head-butting incident that marred the World Cup final.
Zidane, who has retired as a player, was fined 7,500 Swiss francs (3,260 pounds) and handed a three-match ban by FIFA's five-man disciplinary committee following his red card for head-butting Materazzi in Berlin on July 9.
As he is no longer a player, he offered to undertake three days of community service on FIFA's behalf as part of their humanitarian activities, which the committee accepted.

The Italian defender, who admitted insulting Zidane, provoking the Frenchman's head-butt, was handed a two-match ban and fined 5,000 Swiss francs. He attended a hearing last Friday, but his sentence has been fiercely criticised in Italy.
The bans apply to international competitive matches, even though it is a symbolic ban for Zidane who has confirmed he has no intention of reversing his decision to retire.
Materazzi will miss Italy's opening two Euro 2008 qualifiers against Lithuania on September 2 and, ironically, France on September 6.

"In their statements, both players stressed that Materazzi's comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature," a FIFA statement said.
"During the course of their hearings both players also apologised to FIFA for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident."
FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren told around 50 reporters at FIFA's headquarters: "Both players have a congruent separate account of what was said. The words will remain private, but they were of an insulting nature, not a racist nature."
Paolo Maldini, captain of AC Milan and former captain of Italy's national team said FIFA's ruling was scandalous.
"It's scandalous to suspend a player for having said something. It's the first time it's been done and it's only because Materazzi is Italian and because they wanted to justify the action of a great champion (Zidane) but who was in the wrong."

Maurizio Lupi, a deputy of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, also condemned the ruling.
"It's a disgraceful sentence that shows yet again how Italy's football federation carries no weight at FIFA."
French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, on the other hand, said he was satisfied with the verdict.
"It is intelligent, measured and reasonable. It shows knowledge of the world of football...The provoker of the incident has been punished," he told a news conference.
"It's a penalty that hits the one who, in my opinion was responsible. Zidane wasn't the guilty one. You have to keep control but the responsible one is the one who provokes, the one who decides to destabilise a player by means other than sporting means."

Zidane head-butted Materazzi in the chest in the 110th minute of the final and was sent off by Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo.
There was considerable debate immediately after the incident whether the referee had seen it or not, or whether Elizondo only acted after the fourth official had seen the incident on a TV replay which is against FIFA's regulations.
Several minutes elapsed before Elizondo dealt with the matter and he did so only after Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon drew the assistant referee's attention to what had happened.
FIFA said the incident had been "directly observed" by the fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain) from his position at the side of the pitch without the use of a monitor.
In their statement FIFA said that Cantalejo informed the referee and his assistants through the communications system.

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Coach's Fate

Lippi quits as Italy coach

Italy's FIFA World Cup™-winning coach Marcello Lippi has resigned, a press officer for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said on Wednesday.
The 58-year-old Lippi led the Azzurri to their first FIFA World Cup title since 1982 on Sunday when they beat France on penalties in the final in Berlin.
Lippi took over from Giovanni Trapattoni in July 2004 after Italy's disappointing exit in the group stages of UEFA EURO 2004. In two years under Lippi's guidance, Italy lost only twice - a 2-0 defeat on his debut against Iceland and a 1-0 loss to Slovenia, both in 2004.

Domenech to remain France coach
Raymond Domenech will stay on as coach after leading France to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ final, the French Football Federation (FFF) said on Tuesday.
Domenech, who took over from Jacques Santini after UEFA EURO 2004, was offered an extension to his two-year contract and he accepted it, the FFF said on their website.
"Taking into account the excellent performance of France during the World Cup, the federal committee unanimously offered Raymond Domenech the chance to carry on his mission as national coach," a statement said.
The contract details of the extension will be discussed between federation chairman Jean-Pierre Escalettes and Domenech before the next meeting of the FFF's board.
France lost the FIFA World Cup final on penalties to Italy. They play a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo on 16 August.
They will start their qualifying campaign for the UEFA EURO 2008 championship with a game in Georgia on 2 September before they host the Italians at the Stade de France four days later.
Domenech, 54, wore the colours of Olympique Lyon, Strasbourg, Paris St Germain, Bordeaux and Mulhouse as a player between 1970 and 1988.
He helped Strasbourg to the league title in 1979 and Bordeaux in 1984, and won the French Cup with Lyon in 1973.
Considered a tough defender, he earned eight caps for France.
Domenech began coaching the France U21 squad in 1993 and led the team to the final of the UEFA EURO 2002 championship in Switzerland.
He took over from Santini after France's failure at the UEFA EURO 2004 championship in Portugal and helped the 1998 world champions finish top of their group and qualify directly for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Klinsmann steps down as Germany coach

Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who led his young team to a surprise third-place finish at the FIFA World Cup™, has decided not to extend his contract, which expired at the end of the tournament.
A German soccer federation (DFB) official confirmed local media reports that Klinsmann would step aside and that a news conference was planned for later on Wednesday. "The reports are not incorrect," the official told Reuters.
Klinsmann, who lives in southern California, had been urged to stay on after Germany beat Portugal in the third place match on Saturday, but he said he needed to consult with his family before making a decision.
All 23 players in Germany's squad, 93 per cent of the public, according to opinion polls, and even some of his harshest critics had said they wanted him to continue.
Earlier, newspapers Bild and Sueddeutsche Zeitung and German sports news agency SID reported that the former Germany striker, who won the FIFA World Cup as a player in 1990, had decided to step down.
A news conference will take place in Frankfurt at 0930 GMT, with media reports saying assistant coach Joachim Low will be offered the job.
Germany have a friendly against Sweden on 16 August before their 2008 UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign starts in September. DFB co-president Theo Zwanziger has said a decision must be made before the match with the Swedes.
Klinsmann has dismissed reports he received a lucrative offer to coach the United States and has said he is not interested in managing another national team such as England or Italy.

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The award winners of Germany 2006

At the FIFA World Cup™, the greatest, most-coveted prize is, was and always shall be the Trophy itself. However, every edition of the game’s global showpiece has its heroes in the shape of players and teams whose contributions cry out for some sort of recognition.
After all, some of the most indelible images in the tournament’s history have been provided by the likes of Eusebio, Johan Cruyff and 'Toto' Schillaci, none of whom were ever able to lay their hands on a winner’s medal, and many of the teams who thrilled us over the years won little other than the football public's affection.

This was also true at Germany 2006. The array of awards reflected that it was players such as Lukas Podolski and Zinedine Zidane who captured the imagination and that, while Spain and Brazil left without the Trophy, they returned home with plenty of new friends.

adidas Golden Ball : Zinedine ZIDANE (FRA)

Arguably the greatest trophy available to an individual footballer went to one of the game’s most spectacular players of the past decade. Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo, Silver and Bronze Ball winners respectively, certainly ran him close, but despite that Final red card, Zidane undoubtedly provided some of Germany 2006’s most memorable moments, and the accredited media at the FIFA World Cup Final recognised this in their voting.

adidas Golden Shoe : Miroslav KLOSE (GER)

His winning tally might have been the lowest since Chile 1962, but Klose undoubtedly deserved this award having finished two clear of Hernan Crespo, Ronaldo and Thierry Henry with a tally of five goals that saw him move into third place in the list of top German goalscorers at FIFA World Cup finals.

The Most Entertaining Team presented by Yahoo! : PORTUGAL

The winners of this particular award were decided upon by FIFAworldcup.com's users, who declared that Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal had set their pulses racing more than any other team.

Gillette Best Young Player : Lukas PODOLSKI (GER)

Emerging at the head of a 40-strong field of candidates, Lukas Podolski was named the inaugural Gillette Best Young Player by FIFA’s TSG after scoring three goals and contributing boundless energy to Germany’s enthralling FIFA World Cup campaign. “This is a big motivation for myself to keep on improving in my career and to play a even better World Cup in four years' time,” said the 21-year-old after collecting his award.

Lev Yashin Award : Gianluigi BUFFON (ITA)

No surprises here. Gianluigi Buffon produced as close to a perfect tournament as can be humanly possible, conceding just twice during Italy’s triumphant campaign, once from a Christian Zaccardo own goal and then from Zidane’s audacious penalty in the Final. The FIFA TSG members were responsible for this decision, and so faultless was Buffon throughout the tournament that it cannot have taken them long to arrive at it.

FIFA Fair Play award :BRAZIL & SPAIN

They might have seen their hopes of lifting the Trophy dashed at a premature stage, but Brazil and Spain did not return home empty-handed, with each of their players picking up medals for their record of sportsmanship and good conduct during Germany 2006. This particular award is decided using a points system established by the FIFA Committee for Ethics and Fair Play, and the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) named Carlos Alberto Parreira and Luis Aragones's sides as joint-winners after they picked up a shared total of 886 from the 1,000 available.

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Italy hold their nerve to claim fourth crown

Fabio Cannavaro, a player who has belied his diminutive stature with some giant performances this past month, fittingly closed the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ by holding the biggest prize in football aloft. Fireworks proclaiming a fourth FIFA World Cup for Italy exploded into the black skies above the Olympiastadion as the Azzurri party began, leaving France – and a disconsolate Zinedine Zidane – to their own thoughts.
What an occasion the 18th Final produced with excitement at the start and incredible drama at the end as Zidane, on his farewell to the game he has dignified for so long with his graceful skill, was shown the red card. On it went to a penalty showdown and five unerring Italian spot-kicks delivered them the title of world champions, with David Trezeguet the luckless player to miss. With Fabio Grosso converting, his country edged one Trophy behind Brazil in the pantheon of FIFA World Cup winners.

Zidane will remember this night for as long as he lives. France had promised to repeat their success of 1998 for their retiring captain and only he will know what possessed him when he thrust his forehead into the chest of Marco Materazzi. Zidane had to go, accompanied down the tunnel by the glare of thousands and thousands of flash bulbs and the tears of the legions of French supporters.
“Allez les Blues” they had chorused again and again. The Blues came through all right but it was the blue of Italy that held sway. France were wearing white but what colour they added to the occasion with their stirring comeback after Marcello Lippi’s side had threatened to put a stranglehold on the game.

Moment of the Day:

Mauro Camoranesi consoles David Trezeguet

There was irony in the failure of Trezeguet whose penalty – France's second - crashed against the crossbar and refused to cross the line. It was Trezeguet who struck the Golden Goal when the sides met in the final of UEFA EURO 2000 and left a scar that Italy had waited six long years to heal.

Trezeguet's pain now mirrored that of the famed Italians, Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio, who had missed in 1994 and handed the FIFA World Cup to Brazil in the first, and hitherto only, penalty shoot-out in the Final. At the end his Juventus team-mate Mauro Camoranesi went to him and hugged him in sympathy.
What a start we had with Thierry Henry’s first touch resulting in a heavy collision with Cannavaro. As he lay prostrate France wondered if their hopes were about to be stilled as well. The stretcher was called but their three-goal marksman was able to continue.
Henry’s next involvement was to head on Fabien Barthez’s long kick, prompting Florent Malouda to accelerate into the heart of the Italian rearguard where Materazzi brought him down. Zidane’s seventh-minute penalty was nonchalant, a featherweight chip coming down off the underside bar and only just over the line.
At a stroke Zidane joined the list of players to have scored in more than one FIFA World Cup Final - a list that also includes Pele, Vava and Paul Breitner.

Player of the Day:

Andrea Pirlo - such cultured skills emanating from midfield

It caused barely a ripple in Italy’s assured stride. Their passes were sticking, their tackles hitting home. Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso had established command of midfield while down the right Gianluca Zambrotta and Camoranesi combined impressively.
It was Camoranesi’s persistence and tight control near the touchline that forced the corner that yielded the 19th-minute equaliser. Pirlo’s delivery was inch-perfect and Materazzi powered his header home.
Just at that moment the sun had reappeared from behind a cloud to throw light on Italy’s spirited recovery and stoke up the temperatures inside the arena. Henry began to emerge as a key performer, seemingly impossible to shrug off the ball, and that also brought the best out of the dynamic newcomer Frank Ribery.
France came close on several occasions and in extra time Zidane would have scored with a header had Buffon not denied him. The night was soon to take an even more devastating turn for Zizou, a moment of madness ensuring that his retirement began at least nine minutes earlier than it should have done.

Goal of the Day:

Fabio Grosso - such coolness under pressure
Trezeguet’s miss meant that as Grosso stepped up for the long walk from the half-way line the world was in his hands. A no-nonsense left-foot strike into the right-hand corner of the net underlined the contribution the Palermo defender has made to the Italian cause this past month. After a gap of 24 years they were world champions once more.

Marcello LIPPI (ITA):

The further we progressed in this tournament, the more we realised we could win it. Our confidence grew from match to match, especially when we beat Germany in a stadium that couldn't have been more perfect for them.
It was a special game, starting with that penalty, then an equaliser and a general drop in tension. We always had hope, even though we were up against great players. We stayed cool, and I would also like to thank the Italian supporters for their support. I'm a fan of (Zinedine) Zidane, but the fourth official saw what happened. It's bizarre to end your career like that, if it is the end of his career.
I knew if we scored our first penalty, we could score them all. Life hands you gifts sometimes and that's how I think of (Fabio) Cannavaro, the best defender in the world, and (Gianluigi) Buffon, who caused (David) Trezeguet to miss his spot-kick. But I was sure we were going to win because the players were very motivated by the idea of taking penalties.
(Francesco) Totti was feeling the effects of playing 120 minutes against Germany and perhaps he didn't recover in time. Now we'll enjoy this fantastic moment and later on we'll find out what's going to happen in the Italian championship. How do I feel right now? I'm a world champion and I've never experienced that before.


It's a huge disappointment. We prepared ourselves to be at our best, the team got stronger and that was all part of the plan. You could see that in how we were a notch above our opponents in extra time. The players now have to remember what they've achieved.
Zidane's red card was one of the turning-points of the match, as was Vieira coming off (with an injury). We found ourselves with ten men at a time when we were controlling the game. As for the incident itself, the fourth official saw what happened and informed the referee. The assistant referee saw nothing. I don't know what (Marco) Materazzi said, but he's the Man of the Match, not (Andrea) Pirlo. It's Materazzi who equalised and provoked Zidane's sending-off. It's sad, but I think the Italian player made a meal out of what happened.
Zidane would normally take one of the first penalties in a shoot-out but his not being there didn't change much. I can't fault the players, they did their best. Was it enough? No. All I can think about now is the disappointment. My own future is not important at the moment. I'm sad for Zidane because he was always there for us during this competition. I'd have preferred substituting him five minutes before the end so he could have received a different ovation from the crowd to the one he got.

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