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Germany can find hope in France defeat

By ESPN Staff

FIFA launch probe into Zidane's conduct

FIFA are to open a disciplinary investigation into Zinedine Zidane`s conduct in the World Cup final which led to the French captain being sent off.

FIFA have confirmed that fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo saw Zinedine Zidane headbutt Marco Materazzi.

Referee Horacio Elizondo showed Zidane a red card in the 110th minute despite not seeing the incident himself.

Several reports had suggested that officials used video evidence before making the decision, but FIFA denied this was the case.

A statement from FIFA said: 'The incident was directly observed (ie, without the use of a monitor) by fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo from his position at the pitchside, who informed the referee and his assistants through the communications system.''

Now FIFA are to investigate Zidane's conduct.

His sending-off proved to be a turning point in the final.

Having been under pressure for much of extra time, Italy were able to force penalties, and France missed Zidane in the shootout.

Materazzi has admitted using insulting language towards Zidane immediately prior to the headbutt, but has rejected claims that he called him a terrorist or referred to his mother.

Any comments made will be a key element in FIFA's investigation.

The red card brought an undistinguished end to Zidane's glittering career in his final professional match, but he has received much support in France even though his actions may have contributed to the defeat.

Zidane also received the Golden Ball award for the best player in the tournament.