What an unbelievable story, a script that even La Scala might consider
too far-fetched to stage. Facing relegation at home in the wake of the
Serie A refereeing scandal, Italy’s defiant band of brothers scaled the
heights here. Judgment day awaits in a Rome courtroom, but Italy’s
footballing judgment day in Berlin brought only bliss. – The Telegraph

The
man intended to be hero lost his head
and, not for the first time was temperamentally found out. Without him, the French survived,
but the watching world, the children
among them, now have an image of
crippled romance and of sports betrayed by the man who has played it the
best in the last decade. Shame on the hero. – International Herald Tribune

Lippi’s team, overall, has been the best in this tournament but
recognition of that is muddled by admiration for the pluck that France
showed and sadness that Zidane should have left the stage in such a
dismal manner. – The Guardian

Italy
looked exhausted in extra time and seemed on the ropes, hanging on for
the penalty shootout as the last chance to win the match. But Zidane’s
dismissal, minutes after an injured Henry had been substituted, was a
psychological blow to France and brought Italy back into the match. It
also meant France had to go into the penalty shootout without its best
spot-kicker. – Der Spiegel

Italian football is embroiled in controversy, scandal
and massive corruption, but with all those problems hanging over them,
they’ve come to Germany and actually won the World Cup. Any other
nation in the world would have struggled with those problems hanging
over them, but not the Italians. They were amazing. – BBC News

It was the first time Italy
had won a penalty shoot-out in four attempts and it handed Marcello
Lippi’s men a fourth World Cup crown to set alongside victories in
1934, 1938 and 1982. But the penalty denouement
seemed almost incidental to the amazing scenes in the second-half of
extra time when Zidane was sent off for a moment of off-the-ball
madness in the 109th minute. – Japan Today

While Zidane lost his mind, Italy secured their fourth World Cup
with the sort of unbreakable will that they had paraded from the moment
they arrived in Germany stalked by match-fixing allegations in Serie A.
The scandal that many thought would undermine their campaign
united them and they needed that spirit to see them through a testing
evening in the Olympic Stadium. – The Times

Italy had beaten Germany with two goals at the end of extra time in
their semi-final but the Italians looked out on their feet on Sunday
and were unable to reproduce anything close to the same level of
creativity this time. – The Australian

The B-stardly speculates on what upset Zidane, and provides footage of
the headbutt.

Peter Fray

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