by Locker Room contributor
First and foremost, the French lost. In your analogy, Patton’s team won.
Secondly, Zidane didn’t play all that well throughout the whole tournament. He was an average player, garnering criticism for being “too old” to play, throughout every match until he woke up against Spain. But, a short-lived resurrection, a player-of-the-tournament does not make.
In the quarterfinal against Brazil, Zidane played well. His free kick lead to the game’s only goal. Yeah, viva la French. His supposed “inspired play” only looked as much because the French team itself was not built to win. He carried an average team farther than expected, much like Ballack did with the German team.
The only way an aging player wins the MVP for a tournament is when his team wins and no one can figure out how such a thing could happen. Then those voting journalists are left scratching their heads and figuring that only the “heart of a champion”, the “skill of a veteran”, could get them that far.
I suspect that most of the would-be-voters saw that the game would most-likely go to penalty kicks. With a veteran-laden Italian squad sucking wind faster than a three-year-old slobbering down a popsicle in August, and with history markedly against the Italians in PKs, and with Zidane as a sure-fire goal if PKs were indeed to happen, journalists decided that a French victory was to follow, with Zidane as their Atlas.
But, most of this was wrong; and most of what insued to follow was a result of a headbutt. So yes, I take away an MVP that was preemptively awarded.