Thursday April 2 2020
Lippi: 'Stunned by Zidane headbutt'

Marcello Lippi is using the lockdown to watch the 2006 World Cup games and all his Finals, including the defeats. “I was pretty stunned by Zinedine Zidane’s” headbutt on Marco Materazzi.

The former Italy coach spoke to Rai Radio 1 from his home in Viareggio, where he is in self-isolation during the coronavirus lockdown.

“I watched back all the games from the 2006 World Cup, then also all the Finals I participated in as a coach. I had quite a few, some of them unluckier than others, but just being in a Final is always an important international step in any career,” said Lippi.

“The defeat that left a really bitter taste in the mouth was the 2003 Champions League one in Manchester, when we lost on penalties to Milan.”

Naturally, the 2006 World Cup ended differently, with Italy beating France on spot-kicks in Berlin after Zidane had been sent off for his shocking headbutt on Materazzi.

“I was pretty stunned by Zidane’s behaviour. I worked with him at Juventus, he is an extraordinary person, really humble and intelligent.”

The Final ended 1-1 after extra time, with Italy scoring all five penalty kicks, culminating with Fabio Grosso.

“I must’ve watched that game 20 times and it is always emotional,” added Lippi. “I chose Grosso for the final penalty because the best spot-kick specialists had already been assigned and I remembered Grosso had earned the last-gasp penalty against Australia, scored against Germany in stoppages.

“I told him: ‘You are the last-minute man, so you take the fifth penalty’. He couldn’t believe it.”