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Zidane's exit was killing moment: Domenech
July 10, 2006 03:56 IST
France [Images] coach Raymond Domenech said he understands key man Zinedine Zidane's [Images] loss of control which led to his dramatic sending-off before their World Cup final defeat on penalties by Italy [Images] on Sunday.
The French captain, who was playing his final competitive match at 34, opened the scoring but lost his cool in extra time and butted Marco Materazzi and was sent off with the score at 1-1 with around 10 minutes to play.
"There a moments, when you take blows for 80 minutes, I'm not saying I'm excusing it but I can understand," Domenech told reporters.
The loss of their talisman and playmaker cost the French dearly as they lost momentum and their best penalty-taker. They lost the shootout 5-3, giving Italy their fourth title. "We missed Zinedine Zidane a lot in the last 10 minutes. His absence weighed heavily on the match," Domenech told reporters.
"Yes, we can say that Zidane being sent off was the killing moment of the game. Especially in extra time -- the Italian team were obviously waiting for the penalty shootout."
The French coach continued: "We can only be disappointed, not by our run but by the final match and the way it ended. Really, from the game we played, we would have deserved to win.
"I've said it from the start, only victory is pretty. There will always be something missing. You can say what we did wasn't bad but it's Italy who are the champions."
France's 1998 World Cup-winning coach Aime Jacquet told Canal Plus TV: "A penalty shootout is always a lottery. I'm deeply disappointed because I was expecting a goal for France at any moment. Zizou's sending off was a terrible moment.
"They gave it all they had, physically and mentally. Maybe he (Zidane) was provoked. It's awful to see him leave that way because I sincerely believed he would lift that trophy."