The Head Butt Heard ‘Round the World

Zidane head butt.jpgIt’s been a week since the “head butt heard ’round the world,” and the repercussions of Zinedene Zidane’s shot to the chest of Marco Materazzi continue to ricochet wildly throughout the internet.

Zidane has issued an apology (of sorts) for his outburst which arguably cost France the World Cup. For his part, Materazzi has reassured us that he would never dream of insulting someone’s mother. No, according to the Italian defender the insult that provoked Zidane was merely a garden variety one that is tossed around the pitch on a routine basis, implying, of course, that the French midfielder and captain overreacted.

Well, since we may never know what really happened out there, maybe it’s time to just move on. But before we do, it is worth pausing to take in a few internet videos and animations which capture the spirit of World Cup 2006:

I especially like the last one–it appears the French may have a sense of humor after all. Vive le rire!

  1. hermit Jeremy

    oh those portuguese… they sure love to dive…

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Ronaldo was the star of the show, wasn’t he?

    I think the match that I enjoyed the most was Germany’s 3-1 mauling of the flopping, waving, wailing Portuguese.

  3. tom

    Mike, as the proud recipient of one well-deserved yellow card (in a rugby match vs. the undersized Belgian National under-17 team) I can’t help but admire Zidane’s head-butt. Who cares what the Italian player said–he must have said something (and he also took a dive in response). The first head-butt should have only garnered a yellow card. 2 strikes and you’re out!

  4. tom

    And this: I was taught that Rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen, and that Football (ie. Soccer) is a gentlemen’s game played by ruffians. When is the int’l. rugby tournament?

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey Tom, thanks for stopping by. Don’t stay gone so long next time.

    So, what did you do to get a yellow against the Belgian U-17 Rugby team? Or did you already tell me that story and I forgot? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Heh, a yellow for the first one…that’s too funny. So is rugby a more middle class to upper middle class sport worldwide? Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing the same level of whining and faking in what little rugby I’ve watched as I do in soccer. Perhaps you’re on to something there.

    I seem to remember wearing an ISB rugby shirt sometime in the mid 80s. I’m guessing that was a Christmas present from you or your sister. That and a couple of Land’s End rugby shirts are about as close as I ever came to that sport.

    The IRB World Cup is in France in 2007. Lot to look forward to there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Seattle soccer mom

    Just found this post after visiting the Vieux one… I followed the headbutt aftermath in the French media and found it amazing. Did you see the Zidane interviews? Unfortunately you need to speak French (or at best watch with subtitles), because any translation or voiceover misses the point, which is Zidane himself. Calm, sincere, softspoken, hypnotic, regretful yet unrepentant, and 100% true to who he is, which is…who? What? I’m still not sure.

    But after two minutes I was nodding in agreement, thinking, “Yes! He’s right! Two thousand years of development of a system of jurisprudence be damned, we DO need to punish the truly guilty, the one who provokes!!”

    A Parisian friend tells me that 91% of the French approved of Zidane when all was said and done. FIFA apparently also fell under his spell, giving Materazzi precisely 2/3 of Zidane’s punishment. I wonder if they realize that they’ve now essentially set themselves up for needing, in each game, microphones on each player connected to twenty-two multi-lingual bureaucrats, each listening intently for any phrase that sounds remotely like, “Yo Mama.” What do you think?

    I still think Zidane is the greatest player of his generation. There a line in “Chariots of Fire” where missionary Eric Liddell is explaining to his sister why he’s pursuing the Olympics before his missionary work. He says something like. “God made me for [mission work.] But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” That’s what I always felt watching Zidane play soccer.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    I didn’t see the interviews, but overall I thought Zidane struck a pretty good balance from the excerpts that I read. Yes, he is fallen, but aren’t we all? It’s that realization that helps us to put things in perspective, to forgive and move on.

    I personally hope that guys like Zidane, Becks and Nedved will come over and play MLS to finish their careers. It would be great for soccer in America and great for our young players to play against such legends. Speaking of which, did you see how well the MLS All Stars did against Chelsea? I was proud of their stout effort and win. It’s fashionable to bash MLS, but after 10 yrs they’re making money and developing some decent players. The issue of low salaries is going to have to be dealt with, but overall I would rate it a success. You don’t become English Premier overnight.

    Soccer is going to have to deal with officiating, that’s for sure. I’m still iffy on instant replay, but the more I’ve watched college and pro football, the more I see the benefits. There’s a fine balance there between taking care of some of the obvious holes and maintaining the character of the game. Soccer is very conservative traditionally, and change will be slow.

    That line from “Chariots of Fire” is my favorite one in the movie. When a man or woman discovers their God-given gifts and milks them for all their worth, it is truly heaven come down to earth. Zidane’s artistry captured that idea about as well as any athlete I’ve seen in a long time.

  8. Seattle soccer mom

    The system just deleted 90% of my response, which was along the lines of:

    Have you heard something about the old guys coming to the US, or just dreaming out loud? Right after the Cup someone told me they’d read in L’Equipe that Zidane was considering coming to the NY Red Bulls. He said the article said they got their info from the NY Times. I checked both sources and found precisely zip, so I’m guessing it was just wishful thinking on someone’s part. Still, hope springs eternal.

    Speaking of old guys, with luck, tomorrow night #1 son (aka the pilferer of my shinguards) and I will be watching Beckham play for Real Madrid vs. DC United. Nobody’s saying Beckham’s definitely playing, but he did make the trip. (Ronaldo didn’t.) Should be a good time regardless.

    My guess on final score: 3-1, Real Madrid, with the 1 possibly being a sympathy score, although I wouldn’t be upset to see it go the other way. And who knows, DC has had a great season, and RM is facing the same issues Chelsea was facing — players coming off the cup not having played together, etc. So we’ll see.

  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    No, it’s just heresay and wishful thinking. But a guy can dream, eh?

    Real Madrid v. DC United at Qwest Field–I will admit to being a tad jealous. I hope you all have a great time. I don’t think it’ll be that lopsided, I would say more like a tie or one goal differential favoring RM.

    I’ve seen the men’s National Team play three times and Chicago v. San Jose on a trip to the Windy City. I’ll attend so many games this fall (my three sons) that they’ll all start running together. Still, I can’t seem to get enough.

Comments are closed.