It was a night of high drama in Berlin with the World Cup being decided on penalties for only the second time. Fabio Grosso’s successful spot kick sparked wild celebrations among Italian fans. The first time was 12 years ago when Italy lost to Brazil. But the Italians must have been practising since, because all five of their spot kicks hit the back of the net.
With corruption accusations casting a shadow over Italian football, this precious win will reignite the country’s passion for the game.
In Rome, ecstatic Italians celebrated their team’s fourth World title and their first for 24 years. But triumph for some meant disaster for others. In Paris, French supporters were coming to terms with the fact that their World Cup dreams have gone up in smoke.To lose is always painful. To lose a final on penalties is a bitter pill to swallow indeed. Zinedine Zidane’s farewell match was not meant to end this way, with the star player sent off for headbutting an Italian defender.
“Zidane made two errors,” said one boy. “One he’s quitting, and two the mistake he made in the game.”
The World Cup party is over in Paris but will continue for a while yet in Rome. The Italian president has thanked the winning team, saying they’ve restored a sense of national pride.