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Filling The Void

Giving Season: Zidane Sees Red

In the 2006 World Cup Final in Germany, French legend Zinedine Zidane gave the Italian National Team the biggest gift on FIFA’s world stage.

Goodbye ZIDANE by Albeniz G is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Giving Season: Zidane Sees Red


Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

It’s the holiday season. That means we’re all decorating our homes, and celebrating different pieces of our cultures. Whether we’re celebrating the first harvests to come, lighting candles, or waiting for a fictional bearded man to come down a chimney, we’re in the spirit. And part of that holiday spirit is that of giving.

So we thought we’d go down a rabbit hole to talk about some of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) gifts given in the history of sports. Today I want to talk about Zinedine Zidane and one of the most epic fouls committed in the most important game that soccer has to offer.

Germany – 2006

It’s the World Cup final. There’s something about France and Italy playing for the biggest prize in international football on German soil. That has to hurt. Anyway…

It’s the end of Zidane’s playing career. And in the 7th minute he’s called upon to take a penalty to put the French up. He chips a cheeky one off the crossbar, but it goes in. He’s done his job. In the 19th minute, Marco Materazzi equalized, and then the next 71 minutes went by without anyone claiming a winner. To extra time we go.

If you’re not familiar with how it works, in major tournaments in which a draw isn’t an acceptable result, the teams will play out two 15 minute periods of extra time. If that ends without a winner, the game will go to penalty kicks.

One period goes by scoreless. Then, in the 110th minute, Zidane makes the most boneheaded play I may have ever seen. He and Materazzi are getting into a casual war of words as they walk up the pitch waiting for a goal kick to be taken. Then suddenly, the Frenchman turns and thrusts his head into the Italian’s chest. After consulting with his assistant, the referee pulls a red card out of his back pocket, and sends Zidane packing.

This takes the wind out of the French sails, and Italy wins the World Cup on penalties 5-3.

Basically, this is a masterclass in how not to use your head.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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