A few players have appeared in more than one World Cup Final (Luis Monti , as we have seen, for two different countries), and Zinadine Zidane is not alone in having scored in more than one final (Vava,Pele,Breitner), but Zidane perhaps, has left an indelible mark on two finals in a way that not even the genius of Pele in 1958 and 1970 achieved.
In 1998 Zidane stepped into the void temporarily vacated by the incapacitated Ronaldo . In 2006 he was arguably the greatest player in the World- in the final he opened the scoring with a penalty and then in extra time planted his head firmly into the chest of Materazzi and saw red.
It was an ill tempered tournament-345 yellow cards and 28 red cards were shown, with Russian referee Valentin Ivanov handing out 16 yellow and 4 red cards in the round of 16 match between Portugal and the Netherlands. English referee Graham Poll got in on the act by mistakenly showing three yellow cards to Croatia’s Josip Šimunić in the match against Australia. Mr Poll had a great excuse for his error- when booking Šimunić for the second time he marked him down as Australia #3 because of his Australian accent (Šimunić was born in Canberra).
Italy were very fortunate to progress against Australia via a dubious late penalty.
When I first saw Portugal’s Maniche I thought that he would soon take his place amongst the all time greats, but it was not to be, although he was one of the outstanding players of 2006.
Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso scored one of the greatest ever World Cup goals…following a 25 pass move against Serbia Montenegro.
The details of the Final are overshadowed in the memory by Zidane’s sending off- Italy triumphed on penalties- Trezeguet hitting the bar with France’s second kick whilst the Italians got five out of five past Barthez.