GOLDEN BALL: Zinedine Zidane (FRA)
GOLDEN SHOE: Miroslav Klose (GER)
TOTAL MATCHES: 64
GOALS SCORED: 147 (2.3 per match)
AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 52,491
SUPRISES: After a 32-year absence, the Socceroos of Australia made a surprising run to the second round before being cruelly ousted by a late Italy goal as the Azzurri went on to win the tournament.
FORMAT: Four teams in eight groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout play through to the final.
FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Spain, Brazil
2006 – Germany came alive in 2006 as the World Cup returned to Europe once again, and the hosts didn’t disappoint as they carved their way through the tournament to reach the semifinals (eventually taking third place). Head coach Juergen Klinsmann did a masterful job motivating his players and the nation alike during the entire World Cup.
Brazil’s Ronaldo became the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer, but the Samba kings couldn’t get past France in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Portugal came alive with victories over Holland and England in the knockout stages before eventually falling to France and settling for fourth place after a loss to Germany.
It was a forgettable World Cup for the Americans as they went three and out once again. A devastating first loss to the Czech Republic set the tone, followed by a spirited and red-card heavy draw with the eventual champions Italy, and finally a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Ghana when victory would have earned them a place in the knockout stage.
Once again it was Italy providing the biggest drama as their team effort against the hosts in the semifinal secured the Azzurri a final berth against France. With the match delicately poised 1-1, France’s Zinedine Zidane shocked the world by being sent off after his head butt on Marco Materazzi, reducing Les Bleus to 10 men. Italy failed to capitalize during the extra time session, but won its fourth World Cup title after a thrilling penalty kick shootout.