2006 World Cup Final: Italy 1-1 France—Italy win 5-3 on penalties
The 2006 World Cup final was always going to be about one man. Perhaps the greatest player of his generation, this was to be the curtain call on the career of Zinedine Zidane.
His club career was over, having spent his final five years with Real Madrid, the world had watched events in Germany knowing that when France were eliminated, Zidane wouldn't be seen in a professional match again.
Instead they'd made their way to the final in Berlin, beating the likes of Portugal and Brazil en route. For Zidane, many hoped it would end in glory; nobody could have possibly imagined what was to come.
In terms of quality, the match itself wasn't a classic, particularly not in the way that the Germany-Italy semi-final had been. However, for notoriety, it will forever stand the test of time, and we may never know the full story why.
It took just seven minutes for Zidane to make an impact on proceedings. A penalty was awarded for a foul by Marco Materazzi on Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda, and Zidane nonchalantly chipped his effort in off the underside of the crossbar past the worlds best goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Arm raised in salute, Zizou celebrated becoming just the fourth man to net in two World Cup finals (Vava, Pele and Paul Breitner the other members of that quartet).
However, Marcello Lippi's Italy, who had been somewhat brought together by the Calciopoli scandal that was overshadowing Italian football, recovered to level just 12 minutes later.
Andrea Pirlo, man of the match on the night just as he had been in the aforementioned semi-final in Dortmund, whipped across a right-wing corner, which was met by the towering Materazzi who powered his header past Fabien Barthez to level the scores.
Pirlo corners continued to cause problems during the first period, Materazzi seeing an effort cleared off the line before Luca Toni nodded against the crossbar.
The second half saw France and Zidane assert themselves, Thierry Henry and Frank Ribery causing the Italian defence problems. Yet, it was the Italians who came closest, but the linesman's flag saw another Toni header ruled out for offside.
However, it was during extra-time when this rather unremarkable final became something much, much more.
With 10 minutes remaining, Zidane and Materazzi engaged in an off-the-ball disagreement. Words were exchanged as Zidane jogged past the Azzurri defender, at which point the French legend, who had so lit up the World Cup final eight years previously, shrouded the occasion in darkness and controversy.
Zidane turned, faced up Materazzi, before viciously planting his head into the chest of the defender. The Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo was informed of the incident and was left with no choice but to show Zidane a red card.
The legendary playmaker made his way from the field, television cameras showing the player walking past the FIFA World Cup trophy without even looking at it, leaving the field of play for the final time in disgrace.
The final would continue, and Italy would emerge victorious on penalties, David Trezeguet the guilty party for France hitting the crossbar with the only missed kick. However, the match itself has almost become of secondary importance.
The 2006 World Cup Final has become a tale of villainy. Who the villain is depends on who you ask.
Marco Materazzi became Persona non Grata in France for the events that transpired.
But for many, the great villain of the piece remains the enigmatic Zidane, the man who robbed himself of 10 additional minutes trying to win football's greatest prize, simply to plant his head in the chest of another man.