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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Zidane ref ponders quitting game
France captain Zinedine Zidane is sent off by Horacio Elizondo
Elizondo sends off Zidane and ends the Frenchman's career
Referee Horacio Elizondo, who sent off Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final for his headbutt on Marco Materazzi, is planning to quit football aged 42.

Elizondo was happy with his performance in the final - even though he missed Zidane's headbutt and sent him off only after consulting his assistants.

"My goals in refereeing have been achieved. It's time now to teach what I have learnt," said the Argentine.

Elizondo added: "I want to leave through the front door."

The referee also said he was happy with the way he handled Zidane's dismissal.

"When I saw Materazzi on the ground, I stopped the game," said Elizondo, who took charge of five games in Germany.

"Assistant number one informed me what the fourth official had told him."

Zidane was dismissed in the second period of extra time in the final, which Italy eventually won 5-3 on penalties.

It was the Frenchman's last match of his glittering career, but Elizondo insisted that fact did not even cross his mind as he produced the red card.

"A referee is ready to work with 22 players, 11 of each colour and with different numbers, not caring about the names," he said.

My job is to help the referee and that is exactly what I did

Luis Medina Cantalejo

"You cannot even think you're sending-off Zidane in the last game of his career."

Fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo has already insisted that he did not rely on video evidence to determine whether France's Zidane had headbutted Materazzi.

Cantalejo told Spanish radio: "I saw it happen live, I didn't invent anything.

"The ball was elsewhere and that was where the referee was looking. I always tell my fourth official to watch the players because things can happen."

France coach Raymond Domenech said after the game the sending-off had been provoked by television replays.

Domenech was seen to sarcastically applaud Cantalejo as Zidane left the field having received the red card.

But Cantalejo said: "I respect his opinion but that is not what happened.

"This incident shows how important the fourth official is. My job is to help the referee and that is exactly what I did.

"I don't know what Materazzi said to Zidane but there were protests about the action and Gianluigi Buffon went to talk to the linesman.

"When everything calmed down I told Elizondo what had happened."

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