2006 FIFA World Cup

The 2006 Fifa World Cup was a roller coaster ride for many nations, be it Germany’s hopes being crushed in the semi-finals or Zinedine Zidane’s red card in the final, the thrill didn’t end till the last whistle of the tournament.

Germany had won the rights to host the World Cup during the bidding held in Zurich, Switzerland, back in 2000. It was their second time hosting the competition, with the first being in 1974 under the tag of West Germany.

A total of 32 teams were selected from a pool of 198 after a series of qualification rounds which began in September of 2003.

Miroslav Klose had a staggering run throughout the competition and ended it as the highest scorer with 5 goals to his name.

Zizou’s red card is now part of World Cup lore and had he stayed on, France might have gone on to win the final. Despite the incident, he ended the tournament as the best player.

The Italians won on penalties with Gianluigi Buffon chosen the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Qualification Details

Like any other FIFA World Cup, 32 countries participated in the tournament. The hosts Germany qualified automatically leaving the rest 31 countries to be decided by a qualification process.

Thirteen places were granted to European nations, qualifying from the UEFA.

Among the five countries that qualified from Africa, four countries which includes Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo were debutants. The other nation to have qualified was Tunisia.

Asia was represented by Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. From the CONCACAF region, Costa Rica, Mexico and United States qualified directly to the World Cup whereas Trinidad and Tobago had to endure a playoff against Bahrain to gain entry to Germany.

Further down south, CONMEBOL was represented by Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. Oceania’s representative Australia beat Uruguay in the playoffs to qualify.


Germany had quite a few stadiums that satisfied FIFA’s criteria of a minimum seating capacity of 40,000.

The twelve shortlisted stadiums were:

Allianz ArenaMunich66,000
Gottlieb-Daimler StadionStuttgart52,000
Arena AufSchalkeGelsenkirchen52,000
Commerzbank ArenaFrankfurt48,000
Rhein Energie StadionCologne45,000
Fritz Walter StadionKaiserslautern46,000
Max Morlock StadionNuremberg41,000

Group Stage

Group A

Costa Rica3003390

Group B

Trinidad and Tobago3012041

Group C

The Netherlands3210317
Ivory Coast3102563
Serbia and Montenegro30032100

Group D


Group E

Czech Republic3102343
United States3012261

Group F


Group G

Korea Republic3111344

Group H

Saudi Arabia3012271

Knockout Stages

Round of 16

Hosts Germany faced Sweden in the first round of 16 match. Germany won the match convincingly 2-0 with a brace from Lukas Podolski. In the match between Argentina and Mexico, Rafael Marquez scored for the Mexicans before Hernan Crespo equalized. The match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. Maxi Rodriguez scored the winner in the extra time.

England beat Ecuador by a solitary goal from David Beckham. The following game between Portugal and the Netherlands was settled in favour of the Portuguese as Maniche scored the only goal of the match.

Italy beat Australia 1-0 as Francesco Totti scored with virtually the last kick of the match. The match between Switzerland and Ukraine finished 0-0 and penalties were the order of the day. Ukrainian goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy was the hero as he saved a couple of penalties to take his country through.

Brazil turned on the style against Ghana as they beat the African nation 3-0 with goals from Ronaldo, Adriano and Ze Roberto. France, finishing 2nd in Group G made for a great round of 16 match against Spain. David Villa gave La Roja the lead through a penalty but the French came back with goals from Franck Ribery, Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane to progress.

Quarter Finals

The first quarter final between Germany and Argentina finished 1-1 after 120 minutes. Roberto Ayala scored for the South American giants before Miroslav Klose equalized. Jens Lehmann then made a couple of excellent saves in the penalty shootout to take Germany to semi-finals.

Italy beat their European counterparts Ukraine convincingly 3-0 with a brace from Luca Toni and a goal from Gianluca Zambrotta.

England went on to suffer another penalty shootout heartbreak as they lost 1-3 to Portugal on penalties. Wayne Rooney saw red card after his challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo was deemed dangerous.

Defending champions Brazil’s run came to an end as they lost to France 0-1. Thierry Henry scored the decisive goal.

Semi Finals

The match between Germany and Italy was keenly contested with neither side willing to sacrifice an inch. It finished 0-0 after 90 minutes. As the match seemed poised to finish 0-0 after an additional thirty minutes, Fabio Grosso scored for the Italians to send the nation into ecstasy. Alessandro del Piero doubled the margin as the home supporters were left in tears.

In a repeat of the 1984 and 2000 European Championships semi-final, Portugal and France faced each other in the second semi-final. The match was decided by a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the 33rd minute as France reached their second World Cup final in three editions.

2006 FIFA World Cup Final

The 2006 world cup final started with a rapid pace as both sides scored in the first twenty minutes. France took the lead in the seventh minute when Zinedine Zidane converted another penalty. Italy restored parity with Marco Materazzi scoring in the nineteenth minute.

At the end of ninety minutes, the match finished 1-1. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made a match saving save in the extra time before controversy erupted. French captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted Materazzi on the chest in an off-the-ball incident for which Zidane was sent off.

The match finished 1-1 and penalties ensued. David Trezeguet hit the crossbar as Italy beat France 5-3 to lift their fourth World Cup.


German striker Miroslav Klose took home the coveted Golden Boot whereas the Golden Ball award was won by French legend Zinedine Zidane. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon won the Lev Yashin Award. Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal won the Best Young Player Award. Brazil and Spain shared the honours for the FIFA Fair Play Trophy.

Frequently asked questions:

1) Who won the FIFA World Cup 2006?

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was won by the Italy national football team.

2) Where was the 2006 FIFA World Cup held?

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was held in Germany.

3) Who won the Golden Boot at the 2006 FIFA World Cup?

The German striker, Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

4) Who won the Golden Ball at the 2006 FIFA World Cup?

Zinedine Zidane, the French legend, won the Golden Ball at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.


"You can't go back in time" - Zidane says he's 'not proud' of infamous headbutt on Materazzi in 2006 World Cup final
"You can't go back in time" - Zidane says he's 'not proud' of infamous headbutt on Materazzi in 2006 World Cup final

"You can't go back in time" - Zidane says he's 'not proud' of infamous headbutt on Materazzi in 2006 World Cup final

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“It’s because we weren’t good enough” – David Beckham disagrees with Gerrard, Lampard and Ferdinand on why England’s golden generation failed 

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