Italy is the 2006 World Cup football champion after defeating France in a penalty kick shootout. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at Sunday night title game in Berlin and has the story.
Italy and France played to a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes of regulation and through 30 minutes of extra time. The Italians do not have a good history in shootouts, but this was their night, as they took the first kick from the spot and made all five.
David Trezeguet missed the second attempt for France when his shot hit off the top right side of the crossbar. With the Italians converting all of their penalities, there was no reason for the French to take their last one, so the Italians prevailed, 5-3.
Italian coach Marcelo Lippi said he was proud of his players in this World Cup, and especially in the championship win over France.
"We legitimized the victory by taking the penalties with great precision and great clarity," said Marcelo Lippi.
The extra time was marred by the ejection of retiring French star Zinedine Zidane, who head-butted Marco Materazzi in the chest. They happened to be the two goal scorers in the first half. Zidane had given his team the lead in the seventh minute on a penalty kick. Materazzi equalized for Italy 12 minutes later, heading home a corner kick.
With the 5-3 shootout victory, Italy is now a four-time World Cup champion.