Hero of the French 1998 World Cup title, Zinedine Zidane, also stood out in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The image the Frenchman left behind was rather negative. The playmaker managed to steer France into yet another FIFA World Cup final.
But instead of going into the hall of fame, Zidane ended up losing his head: Marco Materazzi showered him with verbal insults, and in retaliation, he headbutted him and was sent off in his last ever match. In the end, Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup on penalties and their fourth title.
World Cup 2006 Facts
Date: June 9 – July 9, 2006
2006 World Cup Winner: Italy – France 5-3 (penalties)
3rd place: Germany – Portugal 3-1
Host cities: 12
Matches played: 64
Top scorer: Miroslav Klose (Germany) (5 goals)
2006 World Cup Background
Five countries initially showed interest in hosting the 18th FIFA World Cup. Germany, South Africa, England, Morocco, and Brazil were the countries.
In the end, only four countries placed their bid since Brazil withdrew. As a result, three voting rounds were needed before the winner was announced, which was a first.
Both England and Morocco were eliminated with 0 votes. The winner would be Germany or South Africa.
On July 6, 2000, in Zurich, FIFA announced Germany would host the 2006 World Cup. Germany (12 votes) received one vote more than South Africa (11 votes).
However, South Africa was considered the favorite, and it was believed that bribery was involved in Germany’s choice.
New Zealand member Charlie Dempsey was supposed to vote for South Africa but didn’t in the end.
If he had voted, the points would be equal, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter would have to make the final decision. It was widely believed he would vote for South Africa.
But Charlie Dempsey didn’t vote since, according to him, he couldn’t handle the pressure that was resting on his shoulders.
World Cup 2006 Participants
One hundred ninety-seven countries tried to qualify for the first FIFA World Cup hosted in Europe in the new millennium.
There was one significant change in the number of countries qualifying for Germany in 2006. For the first time in 72 years, the defending champion of the previous FIFA World Cup had to qualify for a World Cup.
This meant Brazil, the 2002 FIFA World Cup champion, did not qualify automatically. The first and only time the previous World Cup winner had to qualify was back in the 1934 World Cup.
The 1930 FIFA World Cup didn’t know any qualification rounds. From the 1938 to the 2002 World Cup, the defending champion always qualified automatically together with the host country.
This means there were 31 places in total countries that could qualify. Therefore, the German national team qualified automatically as the 2006 World Cup host.
Thirteen places for Europe, excluding Germany, were allocated to the following countries: Poland, England, Sweden, Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Ukraine.
The Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ukraine qualified for the first time. However, all three countries participated before in a FIFA World Cup as part of another country.
Serbia and Montenegro participated before as Yugoslavia, Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union, and the Czech Republic as a part of Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Yugoslavia broke up in 1992, and Czechoslovakia in 1993.
The Smaller Continents
Five African places were allocated to the following countries: Ivory Coast, Angola, Ghana, Togo, and Tunisia. 4 of them, Ghana, Angola, Togo, and Ivory Coast, qualified for the first time.
Four places for South America were allocated to the following countries: Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Four places for Asia were allocated to the following countries: Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
Three places for North/Central America and Caribbean countries were allocated to the following countries: Costa Rica, the United States, and Mexico. Two intercontinental play-offs had to be played by four countries that didn’t qualify directly:
CONCACAF country Trinidad and Tobago against AFC country Bahrain CONMEBOL country Uruguay against OFC country Australia.
- Trinidad, Tobago, and Australia won these play-offs and therefore qualified last minute for the 2006 World Cup.
- Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the first time, and Australia qualified as an OFC country last time.
This was the first time since the 1982 World Cup that countries from all six continents participated together in a world championship.
2006 World Cup Groups
The rules and the format of the 2006 FIFA World Cup stayed the same in the 2002 tournament.
The only change was the absence of the Golden Goal rule. This rule meant a knockout match was immediately over when a goal was scored in the 30 minutes of extra time.
In the absence of this rule introduced in France ’98, the full 30 minutes had to be played even if a goal was scored.
The match continued till the full 30 minutes were completed. After that, the teams must take penalties if the score is still a draw.
The eight seed countries were Brazil, England, Spain, Mexico, France, Germany, Argentina, and Italy. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Costa Rica||Trinidad and Tobago||Serbia and Montenegro||Iran|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Czech Republic||Croatia||South Korea||Tunisia|
|United States||Japan||Togo||Saudi Arabia|
2006 World Cup Stadiums
Twelve stadiums were used in 12 host cities. Nine stadiums were used for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, which West Germany also hosted.
Only 5 of them were used again for the 2006 World Cup.
An exciting aspect regarding many of these stadiums is their names. But unfortunately, FIFA didn’t allow sponsorship of the stadiums unless the sponsors were official FIFA sponsors.
Therefore several sponsor names on the stadiums had to be temporarily removed or covered.
Because of this FIFA rule, many 2006 World Cup stadiums received the temporary name ‘World Cup Stadium’ plus the city name.
The following 12 cities and 12 stadiums were used in Germany:
Status: It is the 2nd biggest stadium in Germany and was renovated for the 2006 World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Dortmund
Status: It is officially named Signal Iduna Park and is the biggest stadium in Germany
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Munich
Status: Goes by the name Allianz Arena and looks like a “Schlauchboot” (inflatable boat)
Status: It goes by the name Mercedes-Benz Arena and was renovated many times in the 00s
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Gelsenkirchen
Status: Goes by the name Veltins-Arena and has a retractable roof and pitch.
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Frankfurt
Status: It goes by the name Commerzbank-Arena and was redeveloped as a football-only stadium for the FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Hannover
Status: It goes by the name HDI-Arena and finally underwent a renovation due to the 2006 World Cup.
Status: It goes by the name Red Bull Arena and is the largest football stadium in former East Germany.
Fritz Walter Stadion
Status: Named after the German captain who won the ‘Miracle of Bern’ and underwent extensive renovations for the FIFA World Cup.
Status: It goes by the name Grundig-Stadion and was renovated in the late 1980s and early 2000s for the World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Cologne
Status: It goes by the name RheinEnergieStadion and was renovated in the early 1970s and 2000s for the FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Stadium, Hamburg
Status: The stadium goes by Imtech Arena and has replaced the Volksparkstadion.
World Cup 2006 Memorable Matches
Germany – Costa Rica 4-2
FIFA WM Stadion Munchen, Munich – Attendance: 66,000
Germany against Costa Rica is the highest-scoring opening match in World Cup history. Six goals in total have been scored.
As expected, Germany scored most of them. Th German national team midfielder Philipp Lahm scored the first goal of the tournament. However, Paulo Wanchope from Costa Rica equalized pretty quickly 6 minutes later.
German striker Miroslav Klose responded with a goal in both halves. Wanchope scored his 2nd goal afterward, changing the score to 3-2.
Costa Rica searched for the equalizer, but German midfielder Torsten Frings ended their search. He scored the 4th goal for Germany, resulting in the 4-2 final score.
England – Trinidad and Tobago 2-0
FIFA WM Stadion, Nuremberg – Attendance: 41,000
Trinidad and Tobago played their first World Cup. They managed to draw against Sweden, which alone deserved a little celebration.
When playing against England, it seemed they would create another surprise by at least not losing again. But this wasn’t meant to be. After 83 minutes, England finally succeeded in scoring.
Peter Crouch was the goal scorer. Steven Gerrard soon after scored the 2nd goal for England. Trinidad and Tobago lost 2-0, which would be the final score of their last group match against Paraguay.
Both European countries, Sweden and England, advanced.
Netherlands – Argentina 0-0
FIFA WM Stadion Hamburg, Hamburg – Attendance: 49,480
It was expected this match would be a feast to watch. This is the 4th time they have played a World Cup match against each other.
The Netherlands won in 1974 and 1998. Argentina won in 1978. This time there was no winner. 0 goals have been scored.
Both countries did defeat Ivory Coast and Serbia and Montenegro.
When Argentina played against Serbia and Montenegro, they scored a memorable goal containing 26 passes before Esteban Cambiasso finally scored it!
As expected, Netherlands and Argentina advanced. Both countries had equal points, so the goal difference rule determined who would top the group. It was Argentina to complete Group C.
Angola – Portugal 0-1
FIFA WM Stadion Koln, Cologne – Attendance: 45,000
Compared to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Portugal won every group match this time. The first match was against Angola, a previous colony of Portugal.
This was the only group match Angola lost. Portuguese striker Pauleta was the player who scored the first and last goal of the game.
Pauleta, by the way, was Portugal’s all-time top scorer (47 goals) before Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 48th goal in March 2014.
Portugal topped the group and quickly advanced to the Round of 16. Although Angola lost only 1 group match and drew two games, Mexico finished in second place.
Italy – USA 1-1
Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern – attendance: 46,000
Italian striker Alberto Gilardino scored the first goal of this match. The 1-1 goal by the USA is the only goal that has been scored against Italy in the group stage.
But interestingly enough, this was an own goal scored by Italian center-back Cristian Zaccardo.
Italy topped Group E, and Ghana joined them in the next Round! Ghana played their first FIFA World Cup and defeated the Czech Republic and the USA. As with African countries Nigeria in 1994 and Senegal in 2002, Ghana advanced to the Round of 16 in their first tournament.
Australia – Japan 3-1
Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern – Attendance: 46,000
This would turn out to be a memorable match for Australia. In a good way! Although initially, the game didn’t start positively for Australia due to a goal by Japanese midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura.
The Australia team was coached by Guus Hiddink, who coached South Korea to the 2002 World Cup Semi-Final. The country was confident the team could pull off something unique in the 2006 World Cup.
And they did! Only after 84 minutes of playtime did Tim Cahill score the first goal ever for Australia in a FIFA World Cup.
He even succeeded in scoring a second goal five minutes later. Then, in injury time, Australia was awarded a penalty which John Aloisi successfully took.
In 8 minutes, Japan lost the 1-0 score and the match due to a 3-1 score. Australia advanced together with Brazil, which topped the group.
France – South Korea 1-1
Zentralstadion, Leipzig – Attendance: 43,000
South Korea wasn’t as powerful as four years earlier. Although they won 1 group match, they didn’t make it to the Round of 16.
They managed to beat Togo but not Switzerland and France. Thierry Henry scored within 10 minutes.
Park Ji-Sung equalized in the last 10 minutes of the match. France finished 2nd in Group G below Switzerland.
France didn’t lose any matches, but South Korea lost against Switzerland. No country was able to beat or score any goal against Switzerland. However, Switzerland did draw 0-0 against France.
Spain – Ukraine 4-0
Zentralstadion, Leipzig – Attendance: 43,000
Spain won every group match as they did in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Their biggest win was this match against Ukraine. Xabi Alonso, David Villa (2x), and Fernando Torres scored.
Villa’s 2nd goal was a penalty. So although Ukraine lost 4-0, they managed to advance to the next round anyway.
Ukraine took advantage of the two weaker opponents, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Both Tunisia and Saudi Arabia lost to Ukraine and Spain.
England – Ecuador 1-0
Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart – Attendance: 52,000
Ecuador qualified for the 2nd time for a FIFA World Cup. With 2 group wins, they impressed the world by reaching the Round of 16.
England won 2 matches and drew 1 group match. Although England had the advantage of more World Cup experience, they had a hard time beating Ecuador.
A free kick by David Beckham was necessary to score the winning goal and eliminate Ecuador. Unfortunately for Ecuador, they couldn’t find an equalizer and lost the match. Their next World Cup appearance will be in the 2014 tournament.
England managed to advance due to a classic Beckham free kick. But England’s classic feared penalty shootout in the Quarter-Final against Portugal would again cause their elimination.
Portugal – Netherlands 1-0
Frankenstadion, Nuremberg – Attendance: 41,000
The most infamous Round of 16 matches of the 2006 World Cup: Portugal against the Netherlands.
A record amount of cards were handed out. Four red cards and 16 yellow cards! Both teams were playing aggressively, which was not seen before.
Players screamed, pushed each other, and performed aggressive fouls. Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portuguese midfielder Deco against Dutch center back John Heitinga, for example.
Portuguese Luis Figo and Mark van Bommel had an aggressive argument, and Boulahrouz had one with Simao. This was simply 1 of the most terrible messy FIFA World Cup matches ever.
After this match, both teams became rivals in future tournaments. However, it was the Netherlands that ended up losing this match. Portuguese midfielder Maniche scored the only goal of the game for Portugal.
Portugal advanced but without the suspended Deco and Costinha. After missing the 2002 World Cup, the Netherlands was already eliminated in the Round of 16 stages.
This was the last time the Netherlands and Portugal encountered each other in a FIFA World Cup.
Italy – Australia 1-0
Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern – attendance: 46,000
Australia advanced for the first time in FIFA World Cup history. They played a good match against the soon-to-be world champion Italy.
The score remained 0-0 for 90 minutes. Italian center-back Marco Materazzi received the red card in the 50th minute, but Australia couldn’t score the winning goal.
Five minutes into injury time, something happened. Unfortunately, this something wasn’t in Australia’s favor.
The referee awarded Italy a penalty which striker Francesco Totti successfully scored. The match was immediately over, and Italy advanced.
Guus Hiddink, the trainer of Australia, almost succeeded in bringing a country for a 3rd time in a row to the Semi-Final.
He succeeded in 1998 with the Netherlands and in 2002 with South Korea.
Germany – Argentina 1-1 (4-2)
Olympiastadion, Berlin – Attendance: 72,000
The last time these rival teams encountered each other was in the 1990 tournament. Argentina wanted to take revenge for losing the 1990 World Cup Finals match.
Roberto Ayala scored the match’s first goal at the beginning of the 2nd half. But Germany, making practically a habit of it, equalized a few minutes before the game ended.
It was striker Miroslav Klose who extended the match to extra time. Due to this goal, Klose became the 2006 World Cup top scorer with five goals.
No goals were scored in extra time, which led to a penalty shootout. It would be memorable since both teams had never lost a penalty shootout before in a FIFA World Cup!
Both teams won a FIFA World Cup penalty shootout three times! But there is a first time for everything, and Argentina had to experience this in this Quarter-Final.
German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann appeared to have a note hidden in his sock, which shows the directions the Argentinian players usually take. He chose the right direction every time.
Every German player scored a penalty: Oliver Neuville, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski, and Tim Borowski. But from Argentina, only Julio Ricardo Cruz and Maxi Rodríguez scored.
Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso saw their penalty stopped by Lehmann. Cambiasso saw Jens Lehmann looking at that note which could have made him even more nervous!
Argentina lost once again, and Germany advanced. However, both teams did clash after the penalty shootout, and even violent conduct occurred.
Argentina defender Leandro Cufré received the red card due to violent conduct towards German player Per Mertesacker.
He became the first and only player so far in World Cup history to have received a red card after a match was already over.
England – Portugal 0-0 (1-3)
FIFA WM Stadion Gelsenkirchen, Gelsenkirchen – Attendance: 52,000
Of the three World Cups Portugal played, they met England twice: in 1966 and 1986. In 1966 Portugal lost, and in 1986 England lost.
Their 3rd World Cup encounter is one of the most memorable matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
No goals were scored in regular and extra time. Still, English striker Wayne Rooney and his Manchester United team-mate at the time, Cristiano Ronaldo, caused some controversy.
When Rooney stamped on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, Ronaldo ran to the referee and appeared to call for Rooney to be sent off.
The referee gave in, and Rooney received a red card for his behavior.
Aside from Rooney’s action toward Caravalho, Ronaldo caused another controversy by winking at the Portugal bench after giving the red card.
English media and supporters blamed the young Ronaldo for Rooney’s sending-off.
Due to the wink, Ronaldo was deprived of the World Cup’s Best Young Player Award due to negative feedback from England supporters. At the end of 30 minutes of extra time, the penalty shootout had to decide who would advance to the Semi-Finals.
Unfortunately for England, they lost once again. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher missed. Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo stopped all three, which is a FIFA World Cup record.
Only Owen Hargreaves scored his penalty kick. From Portugal’s side, Hugo Viana and Petit missed. Simao, Helder Postiga, and Cristiano Ronaldo scored successfully.
Brazil – France 0-1
FIFA WM Stadion Frankfurt, Frankfurt – Attendance: 48,000
Brazil encountered France for the 4th time in World Cup history. Brazil only defeated France in 1958. France eliminated Brazil in the 1986 Quarter-Final and the 1998 Final.
Was the question, would Brazil finally be able to beat France again in a World Cup? The answer was no.
Only one goal decided this match. It was Thierry Henry who scored a goal coming from a free kick. The controversial aspect of this goal is the serious mistake made by defender Roberto Carlos.
During the free kick, he appeared to be busy tying his shoes. When Henry ran towards the goal, Roberto Carlos was still busy with his laces. Therefore, Thierry Henry had all the space to score a header.
Unfortunately for the Brazil national football team, they couldn’t equalize. Star player Ronaldo, who scored his 15th (last) World Cup goal against Ghana in the Round of 16, wasn’t as fit as in 1998 or 2002.
Brazil was eliminated by France again. Roberto Carlos announced his retirement after the 2006 FIFA World Cup due to local media and fans’ criticism of his failure to mark Thierry Henry in this match.
2006 FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals
Germany – Italy 0-2
FIFA WM Stadion Dortmund, Dortmund – Attendance: 65,000
Since Brazil and Argentina were eliminated, the last four countries were all European.
Germany and Italy have played each other multiple times, but Germany never managed to beat Italy. The last time they encountered each other was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup Final.
Italy won 3-1. No goals were scored in regular time, but Italy was highly in the attacking mode. Then in extra time, two goals were scored by Italy in three minutes! Something that doesn’t often happen against Germany!
After the first goal, all the Germans were going for the equalizer, which created room for the 2nd goal. Italian players Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero scored the winning goals. So again, Germany failed to beat Italy.
Portugal – France 0-1
FIFA WM Stadion Munchen, Munich – Attendance: 66,000
This was the first time both countries met in a FIFA World Cup. Portugal has advanced to the Semi-Final in the 1966 tournament for the first time.
Unlike the 1966 World Cup, Portugal successfully defeated England in the Quarter-Final. The penalty shootout had to determine the winner, which England failed again.
Unfortunately for Portugal, France didn’t let them create any passage to the FIFA World Cup Final. As was the case in France’s previous match against Brazil, only 1 goal decided this match.
But this time, the goal was a penalty. It was star player Zinedine Zidane who took the penalty successfully. Portugal couldn’t find the equalizer and was eliminated in the Semi-Final stage for the 2nd time.
2006 FIFA World Cup Final
France against Italy. It was the first time they encountered each other in a FIFA World Cup Final.
It was the second time for France to reach the Final, and for Italy, it was already the 6th time. So the Final would be the 4th Final, consisting only of European countries.
The last all-European Final was back in Spain in 1982. This is also the first Final since Argentina in 1978, which didn’t include Brazil or Germany.
Italy won all matches before reaching the Final except for the group match against the USA, which ended in 1-1.
In the Round of 16 against Australia, Italy was lucky by having awarded a last-minute penalty before the end of the match. Against Germany, in the semi-final, they were lucky again. The only two goals were scored in the last minutes of extra time.
France’s road to the Final was not that smooth either. They ended up 2nd in their group due to 2 draws against Switzerland and South Korea. In the Semi-Final, a penalty was needed to beat Portugal.
This is the 5th time France and Italy have encountered each other in a World Cup. Italy won the first two encounters in 1938 and 1978. France won the last two encounters in 1986 and 1998.
69,000 Spectators Watch History Unfold
On July 9, in the Olympiastadion in Berlin, with an attendance of 69,000, a memorable 2006 FIFA World Cup final was about to take place.
French player Zinedine Zidane took a successful penalty in the 7th minute of the match. In that same half, Marco Materazzi equalized pretty fast in the 19th minute.
No goals were scored during the 2nd half and extra time, resulting in the 2nd penalty shootout in FIFA World Cup Finals history.
Although no goals were scored in extra time, a very memorable incident occurred: an incident that is considered THE shocking moment in FIFA World Cup history.
The moment involved the 2 goal scorers, Zidane and Materazzi. Materazzi pulled Zidane’s jersey before the Frenchman walked away from him.
Zidane suddenly turned around since the Italian midfielder started to provoke him. Zidane responded with a headbutt in Materazzi’s chest. As a result, Materazzi was knocked to the ground, and the referee had to give Zidane the red card.
However, it appears he hasn’t seen the incident, and it was the 4th official to inform the referee through the headset about the headbutt.
The image of Zinedine Zidane passing by the FIFA World Cup trophy when walking off the soccer field became legendary.
Italy Wins World Cup
It appeared the reason for the headbutt was that Materazzi stated the following: “I prefer the whore that is your sister. “This was his response after Zidane stated, “If you want my shirt, I will give it to you afterward” when Materazzi pulled his jersey.
Materazzi claimed he didn’t even know Zidane had a sister, and Zidane later regretted the offense but would never apologize to Materazzi.
This was his last match for France since he retired from international football after the 2006 World Cup.
France had to enter the penalty shootout without Zidane. Italian player Adrea Pirlo and French player Sylvain Wiltord scored the first penalty for their country.
It was the 2nd French penalty taken by David Trezeguet, which hit the crossbar and goal line resulting in a missed penalty.
The Italians Marco Materazzi, Daniele de Rossi, and Alessandro Del Piero scored their penalty.
Eric Abidal and Willy Sagnol scored the two other penalties from France. However, it was Italian Fabio Grosso who scored the last winning penalty, resulting in Italy winning the 2006 World Cup.
The 2006 World Cup Winner
Italy won the World Cup again after 24 years for the 4th time. Italy is now the second most successful World Cup team.
It was also the first time Italy won a penalty shootout in a World Cup. They lost three previous penalty shootouts, including the USA ’94 Final.
Zinedine Zidane ended up being awarded the Golden Ball despite the headbutt. The Golden Ball poll was conducted halftime during the Final before the headbutt incident occurred.
Therefore the incident couldn’t be taken into account. So the question is whether he would win the award anyway if the poll were conducted after the Final.
The Italian Journey
In the group stage, the Italians did not have a lot of difficulties. They managed two victories against Ghana, the Czech Republic, and a draw against the United States.
In the round of 16, a hard match against Australia, midfielder Franceso Totti saved the day in injury time from the penalty spot. Against Ukraine, in the quarter-final, a convincing 3-0 win, as they eliminated the tournament’s last surprise.
However, the 2006 World Cup semi-final was a hard match. Their opponent was Germany, the hosts, coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, who had won over the fans by playing beautiful football.
The game was deadlocked, and it remained a goalless draw in regular time. However, in extra time, Fabio Grosso opened the score. And then, Del Piero got Italy’s second, ending the German dream.
Germany would still finish third, beating Portgual, and would end the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament with the best attack, 14 goals. Miroslav Klose scored five times and finished the competition as the top scorer.
The World Championship figures also showed that the Germans met the challenge of staging the tournament for the second time. In total, 3.359,439 people went to the stadiums. The number of viewers across the world was estimated at over 30 billion.
2006 FIFA World Cup Minnows
Among the 32 teams, Togo, Angola, Trinidad, and Tobago won the hearts of many people. But there were no real surprises. However, the Ivory Coast showed good football in their first World Cup game.
But it was not enough to get them through to the knockout stage. Nevertheless, Ghana faced Brazil in the 2006 World Cup round of 16, losing 3-0.
Another team that stood out was Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
With Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari at the helm, Portugal matched their best campaign in history, finishing the tournament in fourth place, something they had not done since Eusébio in 1966.
The French Contingent
After a slow start in the group stage, with two draws and a victory, France got going in the round of 16, when they beat Spain 3-1. In the quarter-final, they would play Brazil. All the better for Zidane and Thierry Henry.
The semi-final against Portugal also gave the French a happy ending, with Zidane scoring from the penalty spot. However, in the final, he would lose his head when insulted by Materazzi and, in retaliation, headbutted the Italian on the chest.
Zidane was sent off, and the footage of him losing his head was broadcast worldwide.
It worked out well for the Italians, who overcame the trauma of losing a World Cup final on penalties and winning their fourth World Cup title, being only behind Brazil in relation to wins.
Indeed, the match ended with a 1-1 draw after extra time, and the 2006 World Cup would be decided in a penalty shootout. The Italians converted all their efforts, while the French, without Zidane, watched as Trezeguet’s shot hit the bar.
The Magic Square
Brazil arrived in Germany more favorite than ever. After all, the team coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira had the so-called ‘Magic Square’: Kaka, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Adriano. Brazil put on an exhibition in the 2005 Confederations Cup final against Argentina.
With Robinho playing beside Adriano, Argentina barely saw the ball. The 4-1 win excites even the most skeptical fans.
With Ronaldo in the group, Brazil arrived in Weggis, a little town in Switzerland, for their final preparation stage before the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
However, the party-like environment would claim its toll later. Adriano and Ronaldo were not in shape.
Brazil’s 2006 World Cup
The same offensive system also did not inspire a lot of confidence. Brazil won three matches in the 2006 FIFA World Cup group stage and qualified without problems. In the round of 16, an easy 3-0 win over Ghana.
Nevertheless, the dream of the sixth title would end in the quarter-final. Parreira fielded a more cautious team, choosing to use Juninho in midfield, with only Ronaldo and a striker. But not even this was enough to stop Zidane and his teammates.
France’s number 10 played one of his best tournament matches and took the free-kick, which Henry got onto the end of to score the winning goal. Once more, Zidane played the role of Brazil’s executioner at the 2006 World Cup.
World Cup 2006 Mascot
For the 2006 World Cup, FIFA again introduced an animal we have seen before as mascot.
It was a lion, but not just any animated or illustrated lion, as has been used as the first FIFA World Cup mascot in 1966. Instead, it was a 7.5 feet’ real life’ plush lion who goes by Goleo VI.
The name comes from his father’s encouraging cries of ‘Go Leo Go!’ during football matches (Leo means lion in Latin). Goleo IV is created by the American company Jim Henson Company which is responsible for The Muppets.
A puppet master inside the costume controls him. Goleo VI only wears a white classic German jersey with the number 06, referring to the 2006 World Cup and the fact that he was the 6th applicant for the position of the official mascot.
You can read the number 06 and his name on the back of the jersey. Goleo VI is not the only character; he is accompanied by his sidekick Pille, a talking football who knows everything there is to know about football.
2006 FIFA World Cup Songs
The 2006 FIFA World Cup anthem has all the features of a true anthem. It is sung by German musician Herbert Gronemeyer featuring Amadou & Mariam, a musical duo from Mali.
This epic tune is named Zeit Dass Sich Was Dreht (Celebrate The Day) and has Latin and African influences. It was sung in German, French, English, and Mambara, the language of Mali.
Not only is the tune powerful, but the video is also just as epic, grasping the sentiment and feeling only a world championship provides. Legendary moments in World Cup history are passing by in the video.
Unlike the upbeat tempo in Anastacia’s Boom in 2002 and Ricky Martin’s La Copa de la Vida in 1998, the 2006 FIFA World Cup had a very different type of official song.
The song, sung in English and Spanish, is called The Time of Our Lives and is much calmer and more emotional. It is the English multinational operatic pop vocal group Il Divo that sings the official song featuring famous American R&B singer Toni Braxton.
They both performed The Time of Our Lives during the opening ceremony of the 2006 World Cup. The single was received well in several European countries.
2006 FIFA World Cup Records
- Eight countries qualified for the first time: Angola, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic, Ghana, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, and Serbia and Montenegro.
- The first time Serbia and Montenegro qualified since the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.
- First time Ukraine has participated since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
- The first time the Czech Republic has participated since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
- The Best Young Player Award was awarded for the first time.
- Italy won the World Cup for the 4th time after 24 years, becoming the 2nd best country in history after Brazil.
- Italy is the 2nd country to have won a FIFA World Cup 4 times.
- This is the first all-European Final since Spain in 1982.
- First time since 1982, all 4 Semi-Finalists are European teams.
- For 2nd time in World Cup history, a Final ended in a penalty shootout.
- From Germany 2006 onwards, the defending champion of a previous World Cup had to qualify for the next tournament.
- First-time countries of all six continents participated together.
- French midfielder Zinedine Zidane is the 4th player to have scored a goal in two World Cup Finals tournament (1998 and 2006).
- French midfielder Zinedine Zidane became the 2nd player to have been sent off in 2 different editions (1998 and 2006).
- A record amount of yellow (345) and red (28) cards were handed out.
- The Round of 16 matches Portugal – Netherlands contains the highest amount of yellow cards (16) and red cards (4) in FIFA World Cup history handed out in a match.
- Australia is the first Oceanian country to advance to the 2nd round.
- A record amount of 11 different players of the Italian team have scored a goal (Pirlo, Laquinta, Gilardino, Materazzi, Inzaghi, Totti, Zambrotta, Toni, Grosso, Del Piero, De Rossi).
- Germany against Costa Rica (4-2) is the highest-scoring opening match in FIFA World Cup history.
- Italian player Alessandro Del Piero scored the latest record goal from kickoff in the 121st minute ( against Germany).
- Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the 2nd goalkeeper to have only conceded two goals before becoming a world champion.
- Italian goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is also the only World Cup-winning goalkeeper not to have conceded a goal in open play throughout the tournament (one goal coming from an own goal after a free-kick, and the 2nd from a penalty).
- Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in World Cup history to have scored more own goals than normal: 1 own goal (in the group match against Paraguay) and 0 standard goals.
- First time in World Cup history that no hat-tricks were scored in this edition.
- Switzerland became the first and last country to have missed every penalty in the penalty shootout (in the Round of 16 matches against Ukraine).
- Argentina lost their first penalty shootout in the Quarter-Final match against Germany.
- Argentina defender Leandro Cufre is the only player in FIFA World Cup history to have received a red card after a match was already over, which was against Germany in the Quarter-Final, with the reason being violent conduct towards German player Per Mertesacker.
- Brazil has a record of winning 11 consecutive World Cup matches: 7 matches were won in 2002 and 4 in this tournament.
- The most own goals have been scored in the 2006 World Cup: 4 own goals.
- The fastest own goal in FIFA World Cup history was scored by Paraguayan Carlos Gamarra in the 3rd minute, in the group match against England.
- Swedish player Marcus Allback scored the 2000th goal in the group match against England (2-2).
- First time more than one voting round was needed to determine the host country.
Did You Know
- First FIFA World Cup since 1934, where the previous winner had to qualify.
- It was the First FIFA World Cup Finals since 1978, which didn’t include Germany or Brazil.
- First time since 1970 that the host country played the first match.
- ‘A time to make friends’ (in German: Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden) was the official slogan of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, expressing Germany’s hospitality towards the players and fans.
- No player from the winning Italian squad scored more than two goals. Ten different Italian players scored for the team.
- English referee Graham Poll accidentally handed out three yellow cards instead of 2 to Croatian Josip Simunic before sending him off in the group match against Australia.
- Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot with the lowest amount of goals (5) since the 1962 FIFA World Cup.
- The Adidas match ball is named Teamgeist (team spirit), something the Germans are known for in World Cup history.
- The name of the match ball +Teamgeist contains a + since Teamgeist alone could not be trademarked.
- +Teamgeist match ball contains a revolutionary amount of 14-panels rather than 32, which was standard since 1970.
- +Teamgeist match ball is claimed to be rounder, more precise and consistent, and doesn’t get heavier in wet weather
- A gold color version of the +Teamgeist match ball was used for the Final called +Teamgeist Berlin (the Final was held in Berlin).
- Many top players criticized +Teamgeist match ball before the FIFA World Cup.
- The 2006 World Cup was an outstanding success and is one of the most watched events in television history, with an estimated 26.29 billion non-unique viewers.
- This FIFA World Cup also positively impacted Germany with an increase in collective patriotism. Unfortunately, however, they didn’t reach the Final.
- Dutch brewery company Bavaria distributed orange ‘Leeuwenhosen’ clothing with the company logo for Dutch supporters. However, they were not allowed in the stadium since Bavaria was not an official FIFA World Cup sponsor. Therefore they had to undress and watch the match in their underpants.
- FIFA Fan Fest showing live matches on giant screens in open urban areas was introduced and subsidized by sponsors. As a result, every upcoming tournament would now organize a FIFA Fan Fest in all the host cities.
- A shaman from Ecuador visited all the stadiums before the tournament to banish all evil spirits.
2006 FIFA World Cup Awards
Golden Ball: Zinedine Zidane (France)
Silver Ball: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
Bronze Ball: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Golden Boot: Miroslav Klose (Germany) (5 goals)
Silver Boot: Hernan Crespo (3 goals)
Bronze Boot: Ronaldo (3 goals)
Best Young Player Award: Lukas Podolski (21 years old) (Germany)
FIFA Fair Play Trophy: Brazil/Spain
Yashin Award: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Most Entertaining Team: Portugal
2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
The 2006 FIFA All-Star Team contains the highest amount of players. A total of 23 players from 7 countries! Of the 23 players, seven belong to Italy.
Together with Uruguay in the 1930 team, both are included with the highest amount of players. You have to remember though the 1930 All-Star Team contains only 11 players. French players Lilian Thuram and Zinedine Zidane and German players Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose were included for the 2nd time.
German player Philipp Lahm would be included again in the following All-Star Team in 2010. Of the seven countries, both Italy and Germany are the only teams to have included a player in every position.
- Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
- Jens Lehmann (Germany)
- Ricardo (Portugal)
- Roberto Ayala (Argentina)
- John Terry (England)
- Lilian Thuram (France)
- Philipp Lahm (Germany)
- Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
- Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)
- Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal)
- Ze Roberto (Brazil)
- Patrick Vieira (France)
- Zinedine Zidane (France)
- Michael Ballack (Germany)
- Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
- Gennaro Gattuso (Italy)
- Luis Figo (Portugal)
- Maniche (Portugal)
- Hernan Crespo (Argentina)
- Thierry Henry (France)
- Miroslav Klose (Germany)
- Luca Toni (Italy)
- Francesco Totti (Italy)
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!