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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Italy wins World Cup in Penalty Kicks

taly beats France for 4th World Cup title

1 minute ago

BERLIN - Italy beat France 5-3 on penalty kicks to win the World Cup final match on Sunday. It was the fourth world crown for the Azzurri.

It was just the second time a World Cup final game was decided on penalty kicks. The first time was 1994, when Brazil beat Italy. France was without its captain and best penalty kicker, Zinedine Zidane, who was red-carded in the 110th minute.

Zidane, who was playing the last soccer match of his career, headbutted Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the chest after the two exchanged words while walking down the field.

The game was tied 1-1 after the first 90 minutes. The teams then played two scoreless overtimes.

In the ninth minute of overtime, Franck Ribery of France shot wide off the far post. It was the closest any player had come to scoring in overtime.

The French did as much as they could, for as long as they could. This could not have been much closer.

For the Italians, this is really their last hurrah. Most of the players will be on other clubs in Serie A come fall, and Italian soccer's reputation could not be lower at the moment. This is a bittersweet victory in dark times for Italian soccer. Juventus relegated two leagues, AC Milan, one, with a subsequent loss of players.

Today, the Italian celebrate and deservedly so. They deserve this day.

Too bad so many dark days are coming up for them.

posted by Steve @ 4:51:00 PM

4:51:00 PM

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