A somewhat lacklustre world cup final was enlivened in the closing minutes of extra time by what must surely be one of the all time classic sending-off offences at this level of the competition. Minutes later, with two of France's key penalty takers out of the game, the Italians went on to stamp their authority on the shoot-out.
There was some speculation about who Pope Benedict would have been supporting in the Germany v Italy semi-final. It is worth recalling his report in Milestones of how, during his youth, the Party changed the curriculum in German schools. The study of Greek was abolished and the time allocated to Latin was much reduced. He observed:
Not one of the professors of classical studies who belonged to the old guard had joined the Party, despite the considerable pressure exerted on government employees. Soon after I arrived at the gymnasium, the second headmaster was removed from his post because he did not bend to the new masters. In retrospect, it seems to me that an education in Greek and Latin antiquity created a mental attitude that resisted seduction by a totalitarian ideology.The reduction of classical studies helped to make way for more sport in accordance with Adolf's dream of the super-fit master race. Ratzinger commented,
[...] the greatest burden for me was the imposition of a progressive idea of education: every day for two hours we had to participate in sports in the big playground of the seminary.He goes on to describe this as "complete torture". Perhaps that was all too long ago to affect his interest in the 2006 World Cup.