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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Viva Italy

Sunday
July 9, 2006

If you missed today's Italy/France World Cup championship game, you missed an outstanding game.

It was a thriller: France scored on a penalty kick, only for Italy to counter with an equalizer off a set piece to tie it at 1-all. And that was less than 20 minutes into the game.

That proved to be the final score at the end of regulation. In overtime, France's Zinedine Zidane (who scored the lone goal for the French) inexplicably head-butted Italy defender Marco Materazzi. The move drew a red card, and France played the final ten or so minutes down a man.

Here's the head-butt video, complete with the French commentary. The "Pourquoi, pourquoi?" ("Why, why?") is the best part.

In penalty kicks, France hit the crossbar with one of its shots... and Italy was perfect. Final score: Italy 5, France 3 on the PKs. Your 2006 World Cup champions: Italy. Quite a game, even if it was tainted by the head-butt incident.

It was a bummer today with Tony Stewart running out of gas in the extra two laps (due to the yellow flag finish) of the NASCAR race. He went from a top three finish to near the bottom of the pack. Those are the breaks, but it was a bum deal for him. It's fun to cheer for Stewart since he's so talented at moving up through the field (he started low after a poor qualifying run) but quickly he was up to the top 12.

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates aren't all that good, so it's usually him against the world out there, which makes it interesting from an underdog standpoint. It's not like the guys with like four teammates or whatever where it feels a little less than fair (even though it's within the rules and part of the sport.)

The MLB All-Star Game is Tuesday in Pittsburgh. I really like the game, though it's ridiculous that they determine home field advantage for the World Series based on who wins. The debacle in Milwaukee from a few years ago was no reason for such a drastic change. Give World Series home field to the team with the best record, and let that be that...


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