The 2006 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match that took place on 9 July 2006 at the Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany, to determine the winner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Italy beat France on penalties after the match finished 1–1 after extra time. France's Zinedine Zidane was sent off in his last-ever match, for headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi's chest in retaliation to Materazzi's verbal provocation.
It was the first final since 1978 in which neither Germany nor Brazil competed (and the second since 1938); it was also the first all-European final since Italy won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and the second final to be decided on penalties (1994 was the first, with Italy losing on that occasion). It was also Italy's first world title in 24 years, and their fourth overall, putting them one ahead of Germany/West Germany and only one behind Brazil. The penalty shoot-out victory for Italy was that country's first in the World Cup Finals: Italy's three previous penalty shoot-out competitions (including the 1994 final) had all been lost. The victory also led to Italy topping the FIFA World Rankings in February 2007 for the first time since November 1993.
|United States||1–1||Match 2||South Korea||1–1|
|Czech Republic||2–0||Match 3||Togo||2–0|
|Australia||1–0||Round of 16||Spain||3–1|
The final started with each side scoring within the first 20 minutes. Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring by converting a seventh-minute penalty kick, conceded by Marco Materazzi, which glanced off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. Materazzi then levelled the scores in the 19th minute, a header from six yards following an Andrea Pirlo corner from the right. Both teams had chances to score the winning goal in normal time: Luca Toni hit the crossbar in the 35th minute for Italy, later having a header disallowed for offside, while France were not granted a possible second penalty in the 53rd minute when Florent Malouda went down in the box after a cover tackle from Gianluca Zambrotta. France appeared to be the side with better chances to win because of the higher number of shots on goal. They were unable to capitalise, however, and the score remained at one goal each.
At the end of the regulation 90 minutes, the score was still level at 1–1, and the match was forced into extra time. Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon made a potentially game-saving save in extra time when he tipped a Zidane header over the crossbar.
As Zidane and Materazzi were jogging up the pitch close to each other, they briefly exchanged words after Materazzi was seen tugging at Zidane's jersey before Zidane began to walk away from him. Moments later, Zidane suddenly stopped, turned around and head-butted Materazzi's chest, knocking him to the ground. Although play was halted, referee Horacio Elizondo did not appear to have seen the confrontation. According to match officials' reports, fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo informed Elizondo of the incident through his headset. After consulting his assistants, Elizondo issued Zidane a red card in the 110th minute. It marked the 14th overall expulsion of Zidane's career, and joined him with Cameroon's Rigobert Song as the only players ever to be sent off during two separate World Cup tournaments. He also became the fourth player red-carded in a World Cup final, in addition to being the first sent off in extra time.
Extra time produced no further goals and a penalty shoot-out followed, which Italy won 5–3. France's David Trezeguet, the man who scored the golden goal against Italy in the Euro 2000 final, was the only player not to score his penalty; his spot kick hit the crossbar, leaving Fabio Grosso – who scored Italy's first goal in the semi-final against Germany – to score the winning penalty.
|Shots on target||3||6|
After video evidence suggested that Materazzi had verbally provoked Zidane, three British media newspapers claimed to have hired lip readers to determine what Materazzi had said, with The Times, The Sun and Daily Star claiming that Materazzi called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore". Materazzi disputed this claim, eventually winning public apologies from The Sun and Daily Star in 2008, as well as libel damages from all three British newspapers.
Zidane only partly explained that repeated harsh insults about his mother had caused him to react. Materazzi admitted talking trash to Zidane, but argued that Zidane's behaviour had been very arrogant and that the remarks were trivial. Materazzi also insisted that he did not insult Zidane's mother (who was ill at the time), claiming, "I didn't talk about his mother, either. I lost my mother when I was fifteen, and even now I still get emotional talking about it".
Zidane later apologised but added that he did not regret his offence because he felt that this would condone Materazzi's actions. Two months later, Materazzi offered his version of events, claiming that after he had grabbed Zidane's jersey, Zidane remarked, "If you want my shirt, I will give it to you afterwards", and he replied to Zidane that he would prefer his sister, but claimed during the interview that he was unaware Zidane even had a sister. Over a year after the incident, Materazzi confirmed that his precise words to Zidane were: "I prefer the whore that is your sister".
After the final, then-President of France Jacques Chirac hailed Zidane as a "man of heart and conviction". Chirac later added that he found the offence to be unacceptable, but he understood that Zidane had been provoked. However, French newspaper Le Figaro called the headbutt "odious" and "unacceptable". Time magazine regarded the incident as a symbol for Europe's "grappling with multi-culturalism". Despite the ongoing furore, Zidane's sponsors announced that they would stick with him.
The incident was extensively lampooned on the Internet and in popular culture. Family Guy parodied it in the episode "Saving Private Brian", in which Zidane headbutts an old lady while delivering her a birthday cake. The Simpsons parodied it in the episode "Marge Gamer", in which Homer Simpson shouts "Zidane!", when headbutting the linesman. In addition to becoming a staple of parody via numerous online videos and GIFs, a novelty song titled Coup de Boule ("Headbutt") reached the top of the French charts.
In light of Zidane's statements, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings to investigate the incident. FIFA also affirmed the legality of Elizondo's decision to send Zidane off, rejecting claims that Cantalejo had illegally relied on video transmission to make a decision about handling Zidane's misconduct. FIFA issued a CHF 5,000 fine and a two-match ban against Materazzi, while Zidane received a three-match ban and a CHF 7,500 fine. Since Zidane had already retired, he voluntarily served three days of community service on FIFA's behalf as a substitute for the match ban.
The Hidden Face of Zidane, written by journalist Besma Lahouri and published in September 2008, claimed that Zidane had expressed his regret for the incident during a conversation with his cousin.
In October 2009, in an interview conducted on French radio station RTL, Zidane stated: "Let's not forget that provocation is a terrible thing. I have never been one to provoke; I have never done it. It's terrible, and it is best not to react".
According to FIFA, 715.1 million individuals globally watched the final match of this tournament. IPG's independent media agency Initiative Worldwide estimated a 260 million people viewership. The independent firm Initiative Futures Sport + Entertainment estimates it at 322 million viewers.
The final Italy – France [had] a global cumulative audience of 715.1 million viewers.