Sunday, July 09, 2006

Forza Italia: Italy wins 5-3 on Penalty Kicks.

Minute 91: Henry is offering no movement to make himself available. As a result, Ribery is doing a lot of running but with nobody to give the ball to. France is starting the first overtime period right where they left off. They are dominating the ball while Italy are standing around right now.

Minute 93: Malouda wins a corner from a nice run down the left side. This is where youth may come in handy as the game goes on longer Ribery and Malouda will have more reserves in the tank to battle on for 120 minutes.

Minute 95: Malouda splits two defenders, including nutmeging Cannavaro but he takes a dive after slapping Gattuso in the face. Malouda is looking livelier as the game has gone on.

Minute 98: This is a true marathon game. The age on both sides is starting to show. The only two players who are moving are Ribery and Malouda. Ribery just had a shot goe a little wide. The youngster is playing an excellent game in the later stages.

Minute 100: Ribery comes off for Trezeguet. This is a bad substitution, not because Trezeguet is on the field but because France has just taken off the only player who has been running in the attack. Trezeguet gets a chance now to bury the Italians again.

Minute 103: EVERYONE looks tired on the field right now. This one has penalty kicks written all over it right now.

Minute 104: BUFFON with an excellent save from a Zidane header. Wonderful save because had that gone in the Zidane legend would have grown even larger. First half of extra time is over. Time for the last 15 minutes. A hero needs to be born because I don't want to see this game end like the '94 final where the Italians lost to Brazil.

Minute 107: Henry is subbed out for Sylvain Wiltord. This is strange that Domenech would take out Henry for Wiltord if penalties are looming.

Minute 109: Zidane is sent off for headbutting Materazzi in the chest. This is amazing. Zizou has "lost the plot." France now have to play a man down and if this goes to PKs there's no Henry and no Zidane. In the words of George Costanza "I am speechless. I am without speech."

Minute 115: There's nothing left for the French. There's nobody to create for them and get hte ball into dangerous positions. There's no Vieira, no Zidane, no Henry. This is absolutely bizarre. Who could have predicted this? Somehow I still think if this goes to penalties the Italians will find a way to lose it and that's with Buffon and the French being without Zidane and Henry. The NEED A GOAL RIGHT NOW.

Minute 120: Game over. Time for Penalty kicks. France has made 75% of their penalties throughout World Cup history and Italy is at 53%. This is not pretty for the Italians. Buffon does not look like a happy man. The angst is written all over his face.

First kick: Pirlo steps up. Cooly places it in the roof of the net. 1-0 Italy

Second kick: Wiltord. Places it to the right, Buffon goes left. 1-1.
Third kick: Materazzi. Not sure why he is taking the second kick but let's see what happens. Materazzi goes straight to the corner although Barthez guesses right Materazzi gets it right. 2-1 Italy.

Fourth Kick: Trezeguet steps up against his teammate. Trezeguet blasts it off the crossbar but unlike Zidane's penalty he doesn't get the nice bounce. still 2-1 Italy.

Fifth kick: Daniele De Rossi stes up. Blasts it in the roof of the net. 3-1 ITaly. They are so close right now.

Sixth Kick: Eric Abidal. Tough for the Lyon defender. Let's see what he does. Abidal places it coolly in the net. Buffon, for all his excellence, hasn't guessed right yet. 3-2

Seventh Kick: Alex Del Piero, one of the all time greats in Italian soccer. All time leading scorer for Juventus. Alex again places it in the roof of the net. 4-2

Eighth kick: Sagnol steps up he has to make it or France loses. He makes it. 4-3

Ninth kick: Fabio Gross steps up. If he makes this Italy wins it all. Grosso steps up and he .... puts it past Barthez. Italy wins their fourth World Cup on penalty kicks. This is a sad way to end the tournament on penalties. The teams were very close and the only thing separating them was David Trezeguet missing a penalty kick. Trezeguet burried Italy at Euro 2000 and now Trezeguet's miss is the reason France lost.
Italians gather around Camoranesi in the middle of the field and cut off his pony tail.

The living memory will probably be Zidane's headbut on Materazzi. Fabio Cannavaro should get the Golden Ball. That's it and that's all.

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