French defender Gallas defends red-carded Zidane

French defender William Gallas said Zinedine Zidane who was sent off in the World Cup final defeat by Italy on Sunday night, was provoked into the headbutt on Italian defender Marco Materazzi.

Materazzi, who headed in the equalizer in the first half, appeared to speak to Zidane before the Frenchman thrust his head into the Italian's chest.

"Sometimes when you have a player who is very clever and says something to you then maybe you are angry and want to 'kill' that player," said Gallas after the duel in which Italy won 5-3 on penalties after 1-1 draw in fulltime.

Materazzi refused to answer questions afterwards and Gallas saw that as an admission of guilt by the Italian.

"I don't know what he said. You'll have to ask him but he's gone. I know why he's gone because maybe he's done something wrong," said Gallas.

On his way back to the dressing room after his 110th-minute dismissal, Zidane passed the World Cup trophy.

"Zidane didn't say anything," said Gallas. "He was very disappointed for everybody - for the team and himself."

"I'm very sad for him. It was his last World Cup and everybody wanted to win for him.

"We deserved to win but that is life. I think we played very well and better than Italy but sometimes football is very strange.

"Everybody is disappointed. I hope we will maybe win next time, " Gallas said.

French midfielder Patrick Vieira was forced to leave the field because of injury during the second half.

On the Zidane incident, Vieira said: "I don't want to talk about it."

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---