Lippi's men on top of the world

Chris Gaynor

Italy scraped through to lift the World Cup trophy!

The team won a nailbiting penalty shootout 5 -3,   where the Italian  spot kicks were taken with ease.

Marcello Lippi's men, normally nervy with penalties managed to hold themselvestogether, to prove their critics wrong.

In an extradorinary incident, Captain Zinnedine Zidane, headbutted Italian player Marco  Materazzi in the chest, which may well be investigated by FIFA's ruling body.

Italy  never capitalised on the controversial sending off,as ironically Zidane could have won France the World Cup with a header which just scraped the bar  during the 90 mins.

Zidane, put the French into the lead with a calmly taken penalty in the seventh minute of the  first half, but a whipped corner found the  head of  Materazzi  as the Italians drew level at half time.

Footballing wizard, Thierry Henry, was substituted as the French managed to out pace the Italians in all areas of the park in the second half and the two periods of extra time.

But the Italian's held their ground and forced extra time and penalties, as they managed to conquer the curse   which has also been the bane of England's game.

The match took a twist and turn as both teams failed to capitalise on missed opportunities.

Luca Toni  hit the crossbar from a header and French substitute David Trezeguet was  also prevented from scoring.

The second half never lived up to the first, and after the Zidane debacle, each team were playing for a penalty shoot out.

The shoot out and sending off   has been the long line of shoot outs and sendings off in this tournament.

  Amid the euphoria of the Italian victory, as well as the shambles of Italy's domestic troubles, the press will surely be heading with Zidane's moment of madness.

With another World Cup over, Italy can breath again - with France, the realisation is that the main man Zidane's international career may well be at an end for the wrong reasons.