Monday, July 10, 2006

Campioni del Mondo

After what I said about soccer a couple of weeks ago, I probably need to explain this post. This is the back story concerning Il Mondiale (as the Italians call the World Cup). It's a story that brings politics and soccer together. But mainly it's an excuse for me to use the little bit of Italian I know.

Those who watched the Italy-France match yesterday will know that (1) Italy won the World Cup on penalty kicks and (2) France's star forward (and tournament MVP), Zinedine Zidane, was red-carded in the 110th minute for delivering a head-butt to the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi. The question circulating in the soccer world is, of course, what did Materazzi say to cause Zidane to lose his composure? Italy's La Repubblica is all over the story.

There are two leading (and not necessarily exclusive) theories: (1) Materazzi called Zidane, who was born in France but whose parents are from Algeria, a terrorist and/or (2) Materazzi called Zidane's sister a prostitute. Zidane has said that he will eventually reveal what Materazzi said. According to La Repubblica, Materazzi said, "Quello che ha fatto Zidane lo ha visto il mondo intero. Gli avrei detto terrorista? Ma dai, io sono ignorante." ("The whole world saw what Zidane did. Would I have called him a terrorist? You tell me. I don't know.") That doesn't sound much like a denial.

On a happier note, La Repubblica reports that Italian defender Marco Cannavaro slept with the Cup last night.

I suppose it's on to South Africa in 2010.