ON THIS DAY: Zidane headbutts Materazzi in 2006

ON THIS DAY: Zidane headbutts Materazzi in 2006

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(AP Photo/Jasper Juinen, File) (AP Photo/Jasper Juinen, File)
By PAN PYLAS and ANNE-MARIE BELGRAVE
Associated Press

On July 9 in World Cup history: Zinedine Zidane loses his cool as Italy beats France to win 2006 final in Berlin.

Zidane, who led France to the title in 1998, was persuaded to come out of international retirement to lead his country in the World Cup in Germany. After a slow start to the tournament, France beat Spain, Brazil and Portugal to make the final. Zidane gave France the lead with a nonchalant penalty in the seventh minute. However, defender Marco Materazzi soon headed Italy level. The score remained tied deep into extra time when the two goalscorers were at the center of one of the most shocking episodes in World Cup history. Cameras missed the incident at first, suddenly showing Materazzi lying on the ground. Replays showed that Zidane had raced towards the defender and felled him with his head - his last act as a professional footballer. Down to 10 men, France held on until the penalty shootout, which Italy won after scoring all five spot kicks. The Azzurri won their fourth World Cup.

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