I am not the most avid soccer fan, in fact it is a stretch to call me such a thing. I, like most Americans, watch at the World Cup and little else. Watching the World Cup final a couple things struck me. First, the refs have the power to change the course of the game unlike what I have seen in other sports. With only 8 or 10 shots per game (with games ending 1-0 on a frequent basis) it seems that the awarding of penalty kick or removing a player from the game is a huge difference maker. The refs in American football do have some power to influence the game but more than that has be going against a team in a loss.
The second thing was the shocking headbutt by the French captain, Zindane. There was no play only a blatant personal foul as Zindane headbutted an Italian player in the chest. I do not know what was said between the two, but it doesn't matter. There really is no excuse. He took himself out of the game and hurt his team's chance to win. Beyond the immediate it is another black eye on the face of the international sport. With U.S. media doing a job on the racism that players of color endure while playing in Europe from the fans. (Being called monkey and having bananas thown at them). This, in my opinion, adds to the unruly reputation that soccer enjoys. It is sad that the big story of the World Cup is not Italy's win but that instead it is the disgraceful actions of France's best player. Sad.