Chirac consoles French team over lunch

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:35 IST

The French football team received a warm welcome after returning home on Monday, after coming close to beating Italy in the World Cup final in Germany.

Chirac consoles French team over lunch

Paris:

The French football team received a warm welcome after returning home on Monday, after coming close to beating Italy in the World Cup final in Germany. The team bus arrived in Paris from the airport and drove to the Elysee Palace to meet President Jacques Chirac. The team was greeted on the steps by Chirac, and had lunch with him and his wife. Chirac said Zinedine Zidane had the country's respect and hailed him as a "virtuoso, a genius of world football," a day after he was sent off in the World Cup final after head-butting an Italian player. "By bringing France to the final for the second time in eight years you gave us enormous honour and enormous pride," said Chirac. Zidane, seen as a national hero, shocked France by his behaviour in the last minutes of the match when he turned and head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest. Zidane was sent off with a red card from the match that marked his retirement. France lost to Italy by 5-3 in a penalty shootout. (AP)

Topics : Football Brazil Ghana Italy
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