Zidane: Ref explains red card

2006-07-14 11:17
Buenos Aires - Argentina referee Horacio Elizondo said on Thursday he had no hesitation about expelling French midfielder Zinedine Zidane from the World Cup final.

Elizondo, speaking to local reporters after his return from Germany, said he didn't know what words might have been exchanged between Italian defender Marco Materazzi and Zidane prior to the head-butting incident.

"I didn't hear anything," the referee said. "But if they did say anything, surely that could be detected on video. Nonetheless that's no justification for the reaction by the player (Zidane)."

Zidane was sent off with 10 minutes remaining in extra time with the score 1-1.

Italy went on to win its fourth World Cup title on penalties, and Zidane was announced as the Golden Ball winner as the best player of the tournament on Monday.

Elizondo was widely praised afterward for his control of the match.

When asked about the hard decisions, he concluded: "One has to always be ready ... and not being influenced" by any side. - AP

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