It seems everyone is queueing up to make excuses for Zinedine Zidane. Even President Chirac:
Dear Zinedine, in such a hard and intense moment for you, I would like to express the whole nation’s affection and admiration for you.
You are a virtuoso, a genius of football and an exceptional human being. That is why France admires you.
What we have not yet heard is the humble and unreserved apology deserved not only by his countrymen, but millions of viewers worldwide. Chirac’s words are wholly inappropriate, and fool no-one.
I don’t care what was said to him by Materazzi, the assault was one of the most vicious and shameful I have witnessed in any professional football game at any level. That it took place in the showpiece of the World Cup Final beggars belief.
There can be no doubting Zidane’s exceptional contribution to the sport. For that reason he is a role-model to millions. He must make it clear that what he did was wrong and inexcusable. Chirac and others must stop making excuses for what he did – and perhaps reflect on whether, had Zidane kept his cool, a winning goal might yet have come for France.
In fact, the only people who won’t feel let down will be the Italians!