France 1 Italy 1
Italy win 5-3 on penalties
Italy are world champions for the fourth time after a World Cup final here in Berlin that was disfigured, first by Zinedine Zidane and then by a penalty shoot-out that seemed to be the only appropriate conclusion.
Fabio Grosso will go down in history as the man who won the trophy for Italy, for it was his successful penalty  one of five by Italy that put France out of reach. But Zidane's dismissal in the second period of extra time, for a crazy attack on Marco Materazzi, ended his career in just about the worst possible fashion.
Zidane had put France into the lead in the seventh minute before Materazzi equalized. After that, it was a chess match between two teams who showed each other too much respect. Both teams could have won the match in normal time and in extra time but nobody seemed willing to take the necessary risks.
The match was the first final to go to extra time since 1994, the first to go to penalties since 1994, and the first to endure a sending-off since 1998. As a conclusion to a tournament, however, it resembled 1990.
Fabio Cannavaro, the Italy captain, received the golden trophy after a triumph with a golden ball. Fitting, then, that he is the new golden boy of Italian football. He was brilliant here last night, as was Andrea Pirlo. France were just as good as a team and did not deserve to lose. But Italy's triumph seems proper. Cannavoro would not have deserved to finish on the losing side.
We were, alas, denied the rousing conclusion to what has been a mediocre World Cup but the story will go down in football folklore. This was the night when Italy redeemed themselves and the night when Zidane's career was ended by his own foolishness and by an Argentinian referee.
The atmosphere inside this historic stadium was inspiring but, like the tournament itself, the promising start did not last long. This tournament was Italia 90 on a larger budget.
With shades of the 1974 final, when Holland won a penalty against Germany early on, France were given a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the seventh minute when Marco Materazzi fouled the flying Florent Malouda.
Zidane's penalty was a composed chip that struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the goal-line. Initially, there was doubt that a goal would be given but a linesman flagged for a goal and France were ahead.
Significantly, it was the first goal Italy had conceded since the group-stage match against the USA, and even that was an own goal.
Italy, however, seemed more composed and more comfortable. It is not in their nature to be rattled. In the 18th minute, they equalized and it was redemption for Materazzi. The corner by Andrea Pirlo, Italy's best player of the tournament, went to the far post and it was there that Materazzi rose above Patrick Vieira to head home.
The match was tense rather than exciting; faster than France's semi-final against Portugal but slower than Italy's semi-final against Germany. Zidane was impressing with his touches but his movement off the ball was limited. Pirlo was expending more energy and was clearly the key to Italian success.
Italy were causing France problems on both flanks and, especially, from corners. France were more dangerous midway through the Italy half, with Zidane looking for the astute runs of Henry, and Frank Ribery creating space with his impressive movement.
Henry had earlier been knocked out when he inadvertently clashed with Fabio Cannavaro. Initially, it seemed as though the Arsenal and France striker would miss the rest of the match, but he finally came round at just the right time  seconds before his team took the lead.
In accordance with pre-match predictions, France seemed happy to adopt a laissez-faire attitude, allowing their opponents to assume control and, hopefully, burn themselves out. But one look at France suggested that their best hope of winning the match would be to do so in normal time. Italy enjoyed 58 per cent of possession in the first half.
The onus was on France to improve and this they did in the second, committing more men forward from midfield and increasing the pace. They did not create an abundance of chances but they seemed the likelier of the teams to score.
France's problem in the second half was not their fault. Cannavaro was inspirational for Italy and perhaps the main reason why France did not score in the second half. Zidane was his usual self, looking good on the ball but not so good off it. Ribery was full of energy but not a lot of thought. Vieira, alas, limped off in the second half and denied France their best midfield player.
Italy, who largely seemed content to let France have the ball, came close to scoring late on when Pirlo was presented with a free kick 25 yards from goal. His shot was low and curled outwards, but just wide of Fabien Barthez's goal.
As we entered the latter stages, it seemed that a World Cup final would go to extra time for the first time since 1994. This one, however, had the virtue of being more open and more entertaining. But only just.
Zidane came closest to winning the World Cup in extra time. He was unmarked inside the penalty area but his header was brilliantly saved by Gianluigi Buffon in the Italy goal. Zidane's next intervention was to overshadow the match with his childishness. The football world will rightly feel his influence but his dismissal has tarnished his efforts in this tournament. ..SUPL: