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Italy claim fourth FIFA World Cup (PSV.nl)

10 jul 2006 - Source: PSV.nl

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Italy have won the World Cup for the fourth time in their history, after they beat France on a penalty showdown. The game finished in a 1-1 draw and as no goals were scored in extra time, a penalty shoot-out was needed to get a winner. The game was exciting rather than brilliant and it was definitely marred by Zinedine Zidane’s sending off. Zizou let himself down in the fourth minute of the second period of extra time by a senseless head-but into Materazzi’s chest, an inexplicable act of the player who made his 128th and final appearance for France. Zidane himself had put the French on top in the 7th minute. Materazzi was adjudged to have fouled Malouda and Zidane superbly chipped home the penalty via the underside of the bar.It was a short-lived lead, for some minutes later Materazzi headed home the equalizer from a well-struck Pirlo corner. The Italians dominated the first half, but could not score any more goals. France were the better team after the break and created some dangerous moments in the Italian box. Goalkeeper Buffon, though, was in great shape and the 1998 World Cup winners could not find the net. The French also had to do for a long time without the services of Vieira, who limped away with a damaged hamstring. And Henry left the pitch on the verge of exhaustion in the second period of extra time, before the Zidane incident. As there was no winner yet after 120 minutes, a penalty shoot out was needed to decide which country would succeed Brazil as world champions. Pirlo, Materazzi, De Rossi, Del Piero and Grosso converted their spot kicks. But French striker David Trezeguet, scorer of the golden goal winner when France beat Italy in the final of the 2000 European Championships, missed the crucial penalty. And so Italy won their fourth World Cup title, after 1934, 1938, and 1982.