2006 Germany World Cup

Written by Sebastien on 19 December 2012. Posted in World Cup History

‘A time to make friends’

So said the motto of the 2006 World Cup. The World Cup was hosted by Germany who won through FIFA vote for the same, narrowly edging out South Africa in the process. A wave of patriotism swept over the Germans with large crowds waving German flags supporting their nation. The 18th edition of the World Cup is also noted for the vibrancy provided by the hosts which captivated the hearts of millions of spectators who made a beeline to the country.

The Nationalmannschaft captured the spirit of the World Cup Germany 2006. Coached by former great Jurgen Klinsmann, the team displayed youthfulness and joy on the pitch while playing their brand of attacking football. Though they were unable to win the World Cup trophy, they ended up as top scorers of the tournament with Miroslav Klose winning the Golden Shoe with five goals and Lukas Podolski winning the best young player of the World Cup award.

Raymond Domenech’s France were the other team to make their mark in the tournament, reaching the World Cup final for the first time since their 1998 exploits. Led by the inspirational Zinedine Zidane and the steel of midfield duo Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele they were foiled by the Azzurri in their bid to become World Cup champions again.

Catenaccio with Flair

Italians arrived into the tournament with a match fixing scandal unfolding back home and it seemed to bring the team together. They displayed an attacking verve throughout the tournament and were also solid at the back conceding just two goals in the World Cup. Much of the credit must go to their captain Fabio Cannavaro who won the player of the World Cup award and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Aiding them were the marauding fullbacks Zambrotta and Grosso. The midfield featured the genius of Andrea Pirlo paired with the steel of Gennaro Gattuso. The goal scoring burden was shared with as many as ten different scorers.  They were the best team in the tournament and deservedly lifted the world cup

As usual the 32 teams arriving into the tournament were split into eight groups of four playing in round robin league format. All the favorites managed to make it to the round of 16. The quarter finals featured as many as six former champions with Germany, Argentina, Italy, Ukraine, England, Portugal, Brazil and France, all making the cut. The Germany-Argentina clash was one of the most exciting matches of the World Cup and Germany won on penalties. Italy defeated Ukraine with three unanswered goals. England versus Portugal saw Wayne Rooney sent off for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. Portugal advanced on penalties. France made it past a disappointing Brazil. In the World Cup semifinals, France defeated Portugal by a single goal and Italy defeated the hosts after extra time two goals to nil.

A sad farewell

The final to determine the winner of 2006 Fifa World Cup was played in Olympiastadion, Berlin. The game had a whirlwind start with both sides scoring in the opening 20 minutes. Zinedine Zidane performed an audacious Panenka to open the scoring from the penalty spot after Marco Materazzi conceded the penalty. The two of them were to be headline makers in the game. Materazzi equalized in the 19th minute from an Andrea Pirlo corner.  Both teams wasted several chances to decide the game in normal time. When there were no further goals in the stipulated 90 minutes, the World Cup final went into extra time. It was in extra time that the most controversial and iconic event of World Cup 2006 unfurled. Materazzi and Zidane exchanged words after which Zidane fiercely head-butted Materazzi on the chest leaving the player in a crumpled heap. This was an off the ball incident and it took the fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo to note it and inform the referee Horacia Elizondo who hadn’t noticed the incident. Zidane was promptly sent off. It was a sad end to one of the greatest footballers who has graced the pitch. There were no more goals in extra time as the match went into a penalty shoot out. Italy emerged victorious by 5-3 with Fabio Grosso netting the winning penalty. They had overcome tough conditions coming into the tournament to win the World Cup.

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