Italy.. Champions World Cup 2006

Italy beat France and were crowned the world champions of football. In a match which was no less than a roller coaster ride, Italy defended terrifically and assisted by some stellar saves by the Italian goalkeeper Buffon kept the french attack in check.

The French began the scoring and who better than the man who was awarded the Golden Ball award… Zizou aka Zidane! and what a dramatic penalty shoot was that.. the ball hit the bar landed within the line and bounced out!…

What followed was attack and counter attack till Italy converted a terrific corner kick delivery and left the ever animadverous French goalkeeper Barthez at sea. Barthez never appeared any where close to saving the header and was left high and dry, to some extent due to the force in the header and to some extent by the awkward position he was in- low and unbalanced.
Ironically, if one sees the world cup final, one could say that it was a tale of two goalkeepers. While Buffon made a breathtaking save to a header from Zidane which would have crowned the Men in blue as champions, Barthez on the other failed to make an impression, drooling and looking at sea instead of standing tall !

Some rock solid defending by italy spearheaded by the captain Cannavaro himself, Italy made sure that the match was taken to stoppage time and eventually penalty shootout. An unfortunate incident saw Zindane being red carded, an incident which still needs lot of light to be thrown on it. This incident cost France Zizou and ultimately the cup, as France faltered in the shootout and Italy won.

It was a world cup which saw many ups and downs. From an all European finals to the exit of some of the greatest players of our generation such as Zidane and Figo.

But above all, it was a tournament which merged boundaries between countries and ultimately the game reigned supreme.