Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bravo to Materazzi!


France coach Raymond Domenech says Italy defender Marco Materazzi did the right thing by getting Zinedine Zidane sent off in last year's World Cup final, calling him the man-of-the-match.

"In the World Cup final, you score a goal, get the best opposing player sent off and you score your penalty. No matter what you tell me about Andrea Pirlo, Materazzi was man-of-the-match," Domenech said in an interview published in the Daily Le Parisien.

Zidane's headbutt on Materazzi - who had been taunting him - was one of the defining images of the final that Italy won on penalties. The France midfielder was sent off, ending his stellar career with a red card.

Zidane had given France a 1-0 lead on a penalty, before Materazzi equalised for Italy with the score 1-1 until the penalty shootout. Pirlo was named the game's top player, while Materazzi was vilified in France. But Domenech refused to criticise him in the Le Parisien interview, saying that provoking opponents exist in all sports. "On the field, all means which consist of destabilising your opponent and using his weak points are positive for the team. Materazzi was the man for the World Cup. I say bravo to him," Domenech said.