World Cup Moments - Zidane uses his head

Zinedine Zidane's World Cup experience in 2006 feature more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster, with the French superstar bowing out of the game in the most astonishing fashion.

The legendary playmaker, who had inspired France to their only World Cup success eight years earlier, wasn't even meant to be at the 2006 event after previously calling time on his international career.

However, with Les Bleus struggling to qualify, he was coaxed back to the fold and succeeded in helping Raymond Domenech's troubled team to Germany.

Zidane announced his retirement from Real Madrid towards the end of the Spanish season, and also vowed to hang up his boots altogether at the conclusion of the World Cup. As long as France were standing, however, the old warrior would continue.

They improved significantly after an underwhelming group-stage campaign to down Spain, Brazil and Portugal to reach the final, with Zidane overcoming a slow start to the tournament to burst into life during the knockouts.

He carved open Brazil in the quarterfinal and netted against Spain and Portugal, setting up the prospect of ending his career with a second World Cup winner's medal in Berlin. Now only Italy stood between France and the trophy.

Zizou opened the scoring with a controversial paneka penalty in the seventh minute, but Marco Materazzi equalised in the 19th minute before both sides missed big chances as the game wore on.

In extra-time, Zidane's match - and career - was brought to a premature end when he head-butted Materazzi in the face of verbal abuse from the theatrical Italy defender in an off-the-ball incident.

It was initially missed by the referees, but an eagle-eyed official consulted the umpire to ensure that Zidane received his marching orders for violent conduct.

"I tried not to listen to him but he repeated them several times," Zidane said later. "Sometimes words are harder than blows. When he said it for the third time, I reacted."

Italy would go on to win the title 5-3 on penalties, and the sight of Zidane, walking down the tunnel past the trophy following his moment of madness, will be remembered as arguably the iconic shot from a dramatic and pulsating evening.

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