2006 WORLD CUP GERMANY FACTS

Ah the 2006 World Cup. This tournament would stand out and be remembered for two things – the first being that Italy won the World Cup for the 4th time and for the Zindane incident. Hero of the French 1998 World Cup title, Zinedine Zidane, also stood out in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. 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.

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. Germany (12 votes) received one vote more than South Africa (11 votes). 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.

Trinidad and Tobago played their first World Cup. They managed to draw against Sweden, which alone deserved a little celebration but lost 0-2 to England. The two countries I support were in the same group. As expected, Netherlands and Argentina advanced. Both countries had equal points and drew 0-0 in their match, so the goal difference rule determined who would top the group which would be Argentina. Only after 84 minutes of playtime did Tim Cahill score the first goal ever for Australia in a FIFA World Cup in a 3-1 win against Japan. The most infamous match until the final was the round of 16 between Portugal against the Netherlands. A record amount of cards were handed out. Four red cards and 16 yellow cards! Players screamed, pushed each other, and performed aggressive fouls.

Germany beat out Argentina on penalties in the quarterfinals. 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. Portugal beat England on penalties in a match in which 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. Thierry Henry who scored a goal coming from a free kick as France beat Brazil 1-0.

In the semis Italy beat hosts Germany 2-0 : two goals were scored by Italy in three minutes! France beat Portugal by a solitary penalty scored by Zidane. For 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. 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. 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.

Italy would go on to win on penalties. 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. 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.

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
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 12
Host cities: 12
Matches played: 64
Goals: 147
Attendance: 3,359,439
Top scorer: Miroslav Klose (Germany) (5 goals)

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