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Monday, July 10, 2006


Till it all fell apart this morning, my greatest couch potato World Cup moment was Zinedine Zidane exchanging his team T-shirt with Figo's (after France beat Portugal) and displaying it ever so proudly on the long run back to the dressing room.

So much can change in a few days.

Then Zizou was a hero.

Now, it's his head-butting moment that is attracting more than just ink.

For those who watched it carefully, you will remember, the moment when Italian Marco Materazzi held Zidane back. Then there was the exchange of words. What those words were, remain anybody's guess right now. What happened afterwards clearly demostrated they were strong enough for the headbutting that resulted in the red-card.

To think it happened in the 110th moment, at a time when the cliff hanger of a match was evenly poised at 1-1. Zizou's presence in the penalty shoot-out would have the difference between the Cup that distinguishes the best from the rest in the beautiful game.

It was sadder still to see that a Captain who brought his team so far, couldn't even make it to the podium to receive his medal.

Hopefully, when the dust settles, we will be able to remember Zinedine Zidane who became just the fourth player to score in two different World Cup finals.

His penalty against against Italy came in the seventh minute, when the game was just about warming up.

He'd scored with two headers in the 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 final in Paris.

The three others to score in two finals were Brazilians Pele (1958, 1970),
Vava (1958, 1962) and German defender Paul Breitner (1974, 1982).

Things pass, at some point the tragic end to Zidane's career also will and his sparkling skill on the soccer pitch is what he'll be best remembered for.