Sunday, July 09, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #56] L'Italia Bella

Well, it's over -- Italy has won the world cup (for my American friends and family, they have this little soccer match here every four years and all the Europeans get very swept up in it). I was rooting for France before, mainly because I have amazing respect for Zinedine Zidane, the French captain. He's an amazing player; does incredible things with the ball (even me, a complete amateur can recognize it), one of the most respected players in football history, and, above all, he's a gentleman.

This was Zidane's last game before retirement, and the media has been full of lyrical waxings about him and his history, and telling Cristiano Ronaldo to look to him as an example. But then - shockingly - in the second overtime Zidane was sent off with a red card for head-butting an Italian player! What the hell?! How can you be about to retire, in your last and most important game, with two billion sets of eyes one you, and you head-butt another player in the chest?! It's so... dirty. My (limited) world view of soccer was shattered in that moment, and I was then behind Italy to win.

The hotter, and tonight, more sportsmanlike, team won, bringing much joy to our heavily Italian neighborhood - the horns are-a-honkin' and the people are-a-cheerin'.

Very disappointed in Zidane, happy for a deserved win to Italy, and very surprised to be a football fan,

Shaun Coley
London, UK
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