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CraigW

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by CraigW » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:42 pm

I think the Italian is equally at fault for flopping around on the field afterwards. I mean, he got right back up, played out the game, scored a penalty shot and trapsed around the field with the trophy shortly thereafter.

I think all soccer players are at fault for always flopping around, then getting right back up again. How do you hold your head up high as a man when you spend so much time (on international TV) crying and writhing in fake pain on the ground? How do you sympathize with real injury (like Thiery Henry in the opening five minutes) when 90% of injuries are non existant? I truly feel for the stretcher boys who always come out to attend to a seemingly mortally-wounded player, only to have to walk back off the pitch with an empty stretcher while the player has a swig of water and then pursues the rest of the game as though it never happened.

One thing about hockey - you get hit injustly, you go after that player and stand up for yourself. Only rarely does a hockey player (or football, or baseball for that matter) dive, and those people are scrutinized, not celebrated.

What Zidane did is intolerable, but from what I've heard, as a star player, you get stepped on, kicked, jabbed, punched, and spoken to throughout every game, with efforts to break you down psychologically, and I'm sure he just snapped. Too bad it cost him his legacy and his country a World Cup. I'd love to like soccer, and try to, but it's hard to watch. It's embarrassing.
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James Roscoe

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:26 pm

Craig, you make an excellent point. It was the front page story for the Post's Sport's page article. They went into great detail on the "art" of the "flop". Only in soccer is this considered a positive. In football it will get you drilled until you do need knee surgery. It's no wonder American's don't take to soccer with all the flopping around. It's not the only reason, but it may be a large part of the puzzle. When FIFA starts cracking down on these guys then maybe we'll see some improvement in American ratings.
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ChristelleC

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by ChristelleC » Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:36 pm

Christelle, welcome to the board! Way to come out swinging. I tend to agree with you, although in Zidane's defense, the Italian evidently got in the first cheap shot and Zidane retalated. It's the first rule of sports. The guy who retaliates always gets caught.


thank you for the welcome! Thought as a french, i should express my disgust with him!! anyway he has still managed to win the Golden Ball for the best world cup player?!!!!! what is going in on... i know he is good but just for that he shouldn't be getting it. It probably was all decided before the end of the final or even before the final!
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James Roscoe

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:42 pm

Again, nice swing, and a most hearty welcome. Zidane really needs to apologize to his team, to his fans, and to his country. He let them down big time! I realize he was provoked in a big way, but that he did exactly what the Italians wanted him to do. He played right into their play.

So what are you drinking in the world of wine? It's always nice to have international representation, especially French. I hope you can give us you opinions!
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Jeff in Halifax

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Boring. Ho-hum.

by Jeff in Halifax » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:32 pm

Another win by a "diving nation".

This is no longer a sport, it is a forum for play acting where the valued skills are pretenting to be injured, backstabbing to evoke response, and crying to the referee.

The Italian probably hired a pickpocket to teach him that nipple tweak, practiced it for weeks, and saved the play for the big game. Let's all celebrate his effort! What BS.

Basically at the same level of wrestling, WW whatever style.

They need more referees, a secondary penalty spot for direct kicks that is not so close, ejection for faking injury (or at least 15 minutes off the field) and some serious culling of the fakers from the game to have a chance at making the sport popular in North America, at the spectator level. Plus a bit of consistency from the officiating would help, but Soccer does not own that problem alone.

Hockey seems to have been successfu in putting its emphasis back on the skilled player (from the goon), Soccer needs to learn how to follow suit.
You should care about what you drink - you do put it in your mouth, don't you?
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by Mark Willstatter » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:50 pm

FWIW, I think soccer's got problems beyond just more scoring to attract Americans. By American standards, I'm a long-time soccer fan, having been indoctrinated in the 70's. I've watched college soccer, the first version of the NASL and international exhibition matches in the SF Bay Area; we made the trek to SF to watch the '74 World Cup on closed circuit TV, the only way you could see it in those days. In those days, I used to watch the German Bundeliga and occasional English Premiership game weekly on PBS, the former narrated by a British gent named Toby Charles. The games were probably weeks old by the time we saw them but we didn't care.

IOW, I can fully appreciate a soccer game without having goals. But I think the sheer difficulty of scoring at the international level hurts the games in other ways. The average goal total in this World Cup was just over two goals per game. I'm guessing 0-0 was probably the most common result, probably followed by 1-0, 1-1 and 2-0. Luck is an element in any sport but with goals that rare, in international soccer it too often determines the outcome. It enourages the flopping/acting to generate "luck" in the form of a referee's call, as in the case of the French penalty kick during the final, which was a pretty awful call.

I think it would have to be positive for the game if the outcome were decided more often by the quality of play and during the course of regular play and less often by referee decisions or penalty kick shoot-outs and that could only come by somehow making it easier to score. FIFA tried this year with the new ball but obviously that wasn't enough. This doesn't have an easy solution as the obvious measures - like enlarging the goal - would certainly meet with howls of protest. Don't even get me started on yellow cards :wink:

Finally, this thread started with the statement that the final was a "great game". I would disagree - the culmination of a wonderful sporting event yes, a great soccer game, no. This was a defensive slog with few flashes of truly creative soccer. FWIW, of the matches I watched, probably the prettiest soccer was played by the Germans in some of their opening round matches.
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James Roscoe

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:11 pm

FWIW, of the matches I watched, probably the prettiest soccer was played by the Germans in some of their opening round matches.


And then they get beat by the flopping Italians in the semis. The Germans were the best team in this tournament and they were robbed by the floppers. FIFA ought to be ashamed.
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Bruce K

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by Bruce K » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:37 pm

in Zidane's defense, the Italian evidently got in the first cheap shot and Zidane retaliated. It's the first rule of sports. The guy who retaliates always gets caught.


Some theories are emerging. According to AP:

The Paris-based anti-racism advocacy group SOS-Racism issued a statement Monday quoting "several very well informed sources from the world of football" as saying Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." It demanded that FIFA, soccer's world governing body, investigate and take any appropriate action.


Something along these lines was my thought when the head butt happened.

On the other hand, perhaps it was a more old-fashioned insult. According to Agence France Press:

The former Real Madrid star's moment of madness in his last match before retiring may have been provoked by Materazzi calling his sister a prostitute, according to a report on Brazilian television channel Globo.

Although neither player has yet revealed the nature of their disagreement, Fantastico, a programme on Globo, employed lip-reading experts who said footage of the incident showed the Italian twice insulted Zidane's sister.


Again, there is no excuse for what he did but I am curious about what led to it.

And if Materazzi did use a racial slur, he should be subject to harsh disciplinary action, too. On the other hand, if he insulted Zidane's sister, I imagine that kind of trash-talking happens all the time. At least, it does in basketball.
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James Roscoe

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:11 pm

If the Dallas Mavericks thought they could thow Shaq off his game by calling him the N-word, they would. Racial slurs are nothing new, ask Jackie Robinson. What ever provoked the reaction should be investigated, but Zidane is the the ultimate idiot who lost the game for himself, his team, his fans, and his country. That's a whole lot of 'spainin' to do.
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CraigW

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by CraigW » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:34 pm

Why would someone call Zidane a terrorist? He doesn't appear to be of an ethnic minority, at least to me...
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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by CraigW » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:43 pm

and besides, we had an incident very early into the last NHL season where a Los Angeles Kings player, Shaun Avery, made a comment to Edmonton Oilers tough-guy Georges Laraque something to the effect of him being black. Needless to say it went to league headquarters, and because there was no substantiated proof it went unpunished (if it even happened at all), but during the game Avery was physically destroyed, being sent hard into the boards several times, and being hit upon every opportune occasion by darn near all Oilers players. Laraque was disappointed and disturbed, but let his play do the talking. He didn't cheap shot Avery (a la Zidane or Todd Bertuzzi); he took the higher ground and knew there would be future chances to raise the issue with him.

Zidane could have at least waited until the game was over. What strikes me is that he had 8 minutes left in the biggest game of his career, and it was tied. He was the only French player who'd put a ball in the net in the past two games.

You could comment on me, my family, my anything, but if I was in that position, I don't think anyone on the opposing team could say anything that would get me, theoretially the best player in the sport, kicked out of the game.
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Bruce K

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by Bruce K » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:46 pm

James, I agree that there's no excuse for what Zidane did, but I disagree that overt racial slurs are tolerated anymore in American sports. I think (at least I hope) that we've come a long way since Jackie Robinson's day. The discrimination that remains is more subtle and usually shows itself in the lack of minority representation in coaching, GM and front office jobs, and ownership, the NBA being the one notable exception -- or the lack of African Americans in key positions, such as quarterback, until recently.

My guess is if a white Dallas Maverick used the N-word in insulting Shaq, he'd be suspended without pay for a long time. Maybe I'm naive but I've never heard of that being a part of normal trash-talking.

It's also important to understand the context (see my reply to Craig W).
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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by Bruce K » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:55 pm

Why would someone call Zidane a terrorist? He doesn't appear to be of an ethnic minority, at least to me...


His parents immigrated to France from Algeria.

It's important to understand the context, as well. I believe a majority of the French soccer players are of African descent (from former French colonies ranging from Cameroon, Senegal and Ivory Coast in West Africa to Tunisia and Algeria in the north) -- this in a country and on a continent that is having major trouble with newfound ethnic diversity.

And there have been incredibly ugly incidents. Before a game against Spain (a team that does not appear to have any black or Arabic players), the French national team was barraged by fans making monkey noises and throwing bananas at them. The Spanish coach also used a racial epithet against Thierry Henry, leading him to form an anti-racism organization.

So if any team is going to be sensitive to racial slurs, it's the French.

Once again, I'm not excusing Zidane -- what he did was unacceptable, he deserved the red card, and if his actions cost his team the Cup, he'll have to live with the consequences. I'm just trying to understand why such an outstanding player would do such an irrational thing.
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James Roscoe

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:03 pm

Bruce we don't disagree at all, except that I think you may be a little naive about the racial slurs. It's certainly common for blacks to use the N-word all the time. I live in a majority black county and I find the use of that word by young black men (I'm white) disgusting. They look at it from a completely different perspective. In any event, we are in essential agreement and Zidane was an unmitigated moron without excuse. I don't get the press silence unlss he is so embarassed he cannot figure out how to say what he needs to say. I would figure there are PR guys for that sort of thing. Of course, if you are a stand-up guy, which a lot people say Zidane is, it may be that you want to do this on your own and it may take time. All in all it's sad that the final of a great event ended in this manner.
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Agostino Berti

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Re: Wow! Italy!!!

by Agostino Berti » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:20 pm

Materazzi is the nastiest player on the Italian team and maybe the nastiest player in Italy's serie A league. He regularly gets red cards for kicking the shit out of people. I personally would not have chosen him to represent Italy. But that's how the cookie crumbles.

It just feels good to beat the Germans and the French!!
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