"In the World Cup final, you score a goal, get the best opposing player sent off and you score your penalty. No matter what you tell me about (Andrea) Pirlo, Materazzi was man of the match," coach Raymond Domenech said in an interview published Thursday in the daily Le Parisien.
Zidane's headbutt on Materazzi - who had been taunting him - was one of the defining images of the final, which Italy won on penalties. The France midfielder was sent off, ending his stellar career with a red card.
Zidane had given France a 1-0 lead on a penalty, before Materazzi equalized for Italy, with the 1-1 score holding until the penalty shootout. Pirlo was named the game's top player.
Materazzi was vilified in France, but Domenech refused to criticize him in the Le Parisien interview, saying that provoking opponents exists in all sports.
"On the field, all means which consist of destabilizing your opponent and using his weak points are positive for the team. Materazzi was the man of the World Cup. I say 'bravo' to him."
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