Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

Germany 2006

2010-05-06 10:18
Host Country: Germany
Champions: Italy    
Runners Up: France

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th edition of the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six populated continents participated in the qualification process which began in September 2003. Thirty-one teams qualified from this process, along with the host nation, Germany, for the finals tournament.

The tournament was won by Italy, who claimed their fourth World Cup title. They defeated France 5–3 in a penalty shootout in the final, after extra time had finished in a 1–1 draw. Germany defeated Portugal 3–1 to finish third.

Despite early success by Australia, Ecuador and Ghana, the tournament marked a return to dominance of the traditional football powers in the First Round. Four years after a 2002 tournament in which teams from North America (United States), Africa (Senegal), and Asia (South Korea) made it deep into the knockout stages and Turkey finished third, all eight seeded teams progressed to the knockout stages, and none of the quarter-finalists were from outside Europe or South America. Six former champions took part in the quarter-final round, with Ukraine, and Euro 2004 runners-up Portugal as the only relative outsiders. Argentina and Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals, leaving an all-European final four for only the fourth time (after the 1934, 1966 and 1982 tournaments).

Quarter Final action saw Germany and Argentina play an entertaining, yet somewhat cautious match, which ended 1–1 after extra time; the hosts edged out the Argentinians 4–2 on penalties to go through to the semifinals. Another ugly and controversial match came in Gelsenkirchen, when England faced Portugal. In a match which saw Wayne Rooney being sent off, Portugal won the penalty shootout 3–1 after a 0–0 draw to reach their first World Cup semi-final since the days of Eusébio 40 years earlier, and ensure manager Luiz Felipe Scolari's third consecutive tournament quarter-final win over Sven-Goran Eriksson's England.

Italy comfortably defeated quarter-final debutants Ukraine 3–0. France eliminated Brazil 1–0 to advance into the semi-finals in a repeat of the 1998 final. Brazil only managed one shot on goal, while Zinedine Zidane's dribbling earned him Man of the Match and his free-kick to Thierry Henry resulted in the winning goal.

The semifinal between Germany and Italy produced an entertaining extra time period that went scoreless until the 118th minute, when Italy scored twice through Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero, putting an end to Germany's undefeated record in Dortmund, and continued their dominance over Die Nationalelf.

In the second semifinal, Portugal lost to France 1–0 in Munich. The Portuguese faced a hostile crowd of English and French fans; as Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of exhibiting unsporting behaviour. In a repeat of the semi-finals of Euro 2000, Portugal were narrowly defeated by France, with the decisive goal being a penalty scored by France captain Zinedine Zidane.

The final started with each side scoring within the first 20 minutes. Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring by converting a controversial seventh-minute penalty kick, which glanced off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. Marco Materazzi then levelled the scores in the 19th minute following an Andrea Pirlo corner. Both teams had chances to score the winning goal in normal time: Luca Toni hit the crossbar in the 35th minute for Italy (he later had a header disallowed for offside), while France were not awarded a possible second penalty in the 53rd minute when Florent Malouda went down in the box after a tackle from Gianluca Zambrotta. They were unable to capitalise, however, and the score remained at one goal each.

At the end of the regulation 90 minutes, the score was still level at 1–1, and the match was forced into extra time. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made a potentially game-saving save in extra time when he tipped a Zidane header over the crossbar. Further controversy ensued near the end of extra time, when Zidane head-butted Materazzi in the chest in an off-the-ball incident and was sent off. Extra time produced no further goals and a penalty shootout followed, which Italy won 5–3. France's David Trezeguet, the man who scored the Golden Goal against Italy in Euro 2000, was the only player not to score his penalty; his spot kick hit the crossbar, landed on the goal line and went out. It was the first all-European final since Italy's triumph over West Germany in the 1982 World Cup, and the second final, after 1994, to be decided on penalties. It was also Italy's first world title in 24 years, and their fourth overall, making them the second most successful World Cup team ever.

Notable Facts
The 2006 Final will probably be most notably remembered for Zidane head-butting Italian Materazzi after some words were exchanged – Zidane was sent off, significantly weakening the French performance.

According to FIFA, 715.1 million individuals globally watched the final match of this tournament.

Golden Boot
Germany’s Miroslav Klose with 5 goals

Italian defender Marco Materazzi celebrates with  Simone Perrotta after scoring the first goal in the Final. (AFP)

More In This Category

The 2002 FIFA World Cup, held in the Republic of Korea and Japan is most notable for the early exit of defending champions France.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France, included red cards, head-butting, stunning goals and a crushing defeat against the run of play.
The 1994 FIFA World Cup, held in the United States to encourage growth of the game there, saw the first occurrence of a Final decided by penalty shoot-out.
The 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy brought impressive performances by African superstars Cameroon, and the worst Final in the event's history.
Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk