Zidane reflects on his last moment in football
Zinedine Zidane is a French national football hero, equally to Argentina and Maradona, England and....well, Bobby Moore. Opinions in some parts of France (where Sky Sports have ventured) state mostly he should have thought before he acted. ZZ will say the old school is, in consideration of the insult and its repetition, it was an extreme act which required no thinking or any other process other than a violent act. Speaking on French TV last night, he apologised to the young viewers watching yet nonetheless was unrepentant in regard to his actions. Materazzi did say something insulting, of that I am in no doubt, but whatever it was it did not equate to the retribution he served in return. Preaching of behaviour has been preached from the cavemen days up to now and it will never cease. I believe children know not to be violent on the pitch especially but where words are spoken in insult, it is the only thing to walk away, they are intentionally spoken to provoke a reaction, they are most of the times inaccurate, untrue, so why pay attention to them?
Perhaps what Zidane should have done was exchanged words back or simply grabbed hold of the ball and initiate a pass to attack Italy's goal, and ensure France scored. With nine minutes or so remaining it would have been a bigger blow to Materazzi than the one Zidane physically supplied. Not only do I and a majority of people not condone the action, it also stamps itself in history as an incident that abruptly ended Zidane's footballing career. Did Marco Materazzi think of this when he made his comments? Did he think it was Zidane's last game, insult him and make him irate enough to physically retaliate? You then consider how significant was that action? If Materazzi had planned it to happen, with ten minutes remaining, Zidane perhaps Italy's biggest threat with Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry both off, it sounds a bizarre notion during a World Cup final.
Did Zidane's action add to or was it the sole reason why France lost in the end? France still attacked as well with ten as they did with eleven. Italy looked too jaded to attack back and therefore gave onus to their opponents. Nonetheless France could not breach Italy's defence with or without Zidane. The penalty taking was presented on equal measure. Having taken one already during open play, to add to his Portugal one, would Zidane have taken the second kick or last one, or indeed the first one, for France? He could have done so and missed, he could have done so and someone else missed. It is not probable to say Zidane lost France the final. However, the final was set for someone to miss as all the penalties bar David Trezeguet's were excellently scored, Barthez was the closest of either keeper to saving any.
In reference to the incident, Zidane said Materazzi insulted his mother and sister, which in itself was insulting but was not the match to the powderkeg. That match was the repetition, three times it was mentioned. Therefore the words were not per se the hurting thing with Zidane. Materazzi's answer to questions was to state he had not mentioned anything insulting in regard to religion, politics, race, Zidane's family members. Materazzi has admitted he was insulting but he too has averted from saying exactly what he had said. Perhaps that is because he feels bad about it or, having actually said something about Zidane's mother and/or sister and denying it afterwards, he would look rather foolish in confession. Zidane says he is a man and some words are harder than actions, where he would have preferred being assaulted with a punch than to be insulted as he was. Again, this is wrong, this goes back to the point words only have the meaning which one wishes to apply to them. Man or woman, boy or girl, the implications of striking back are immense, particularly in public.
One proposed translation of Materazzi's words were lip-read as "you're the son of a terrorist whore." Another states Materazzi said, either alternatively or additionally, "calm down", called Zidane a "liar" and said "an ugly death to you and your family", followed up with "Go **** yourself." Materazzi has said it happened because:
"I held his shirt, for only a few seconds. He turned towards me and scoffed at me, looking at me with super arrogance, up and down. He said 'if you really want my shirt, you can have it later'. It's true, I shot back with an insult."
How much has this to do with football? Well, FIFA are investigating the incident in case there has been a reference to race, I'm not certain how they can find this out, perhaps they have sensitive acoustics around the pitch that record throughout the game. If they don't, they jolly well should do. Perhaps we the viewers also missed something, which I would surmise was the referee speaking to the fourth official who FIFA confirm saw the incident. The fourth official did not come onto the pitch so the referee would have to have been in contact somehow with him. If such contact made its way over the airwaves through the boom mike strapped to the referee's face, that is feasible. Then maybe the referee came over to the linesman and asked for any clarification from him before jogging over and issuing the red card. All in all, the fourth official may have replayed the incident in haste of deducing what happened, if anything, and ensuring the officials got it right in the biggest game of all. The furore if they had missed it, would not bear thinking about for FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
As FIFA are said to contemplate relieving Zidane of his Golden Ball award, the lesson is to ignore what is said and do what is right. What is necessary, not what one negatively wants from you.