I’ve been working non-stop on one of my cases, but managed to squeeze in the Italy-France World Cup final, which Italy won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. As I say, I found it unsatisfactory. I shed no tears for France at this point, but hate to see the world championship decided on penalties. I wish they would simply replay the match, but I suppose that in this busy, overloaded era that’s not going to happen.
It’s also unfortunate to see the victory go to a team as badly outplayed as Italy was. One would hope that a World Cup winner would be capable of occasional attacking play over the course of 75 minutes (the second half plus the overtime). Yet even after France was a man down and missing three of its four best players, Italy could not maintain possession, much less threaten goal. Give them credit for holding their nerve on the penalty kicks, though. It’s rare to see a team make all five under this much pressure.
And I’m happy for ex-Everton player Marco Matarazzi. As in his Everton days, Marco was in the middle of everything good, bad, and ugly. In the opening minutes he conceded a penalty (which arguably should not have been called) and nearly scored an own goal. Then he scored the Italian goal, played superb defense, took the head to the chest that got Zidane sent off, and scored a penalty. Come back to Goodison, Marco, all is forgiven.
UPDATE: It’s going to be a struggle to work this evening. Here in Washington, the Italians are celebrating their victory with non-stop horn-honking which I expect to continue well into the night.