World Cup 2006 Highlights
World Cup 2006 highlights include record-breaking, headbutting, and nail-biting tension. Host nation Germany insured a festive World Cup atmosphere that served as the perfect backdrop to yet another stellar edition of the world’s most popular sporting competition.
- Zidane’s headbutt. All-time great Zidane made his exit from professional football by headbutting Italian national Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final. Materazzi had been tauting Zidane the whole match long; the Gallic master drew the line when Mazterazzi made fun of his mother, who was in hospital at the time. France went on to lose the game to penalties in extra time. It’s hard to think that France would have lost with Zidane taking free kicks. The headbutt is a 2006 World Cup highlight for deciding, as much as the Italian side’s talent, the outcome of the tournament.
- England vs. Portugal. A highlight of the 2006 World Cup, this brutally contested match reached such levels of physical animosity that England striker Wayne Rooney stomped Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho’s crotch 62 minutes in. Rooney’s Man United teammate and Portuguese national Cristiano Ronaldo urged that Rooney be given a Red Card, and he was. Still, a ten-man England squad held Portugal to a nil-nil tie. With Beckham injured and Rooney out, it was up to England’s midfielders to take the extra time penalty shots. They missed in grand style, and Portugal took the match 3-1.
- Ronaldo reaches 15. Brazilian footballing prodigy Ronaldo marked the only highlight in an otherwise milquetoast showing for Brazil by scoring his 15th career World Cup goal, thereby becoming the highest scorer in the history of the global showcase. Certainly a feat worthy of the 2006 World Cup highlight reel.
- Australia vs. Japan. Aside from football diehards, journalists, and Australian and Japanese nationals, this other-side-of-the-international-date-line match didn’t hold much attraction for World Cup 2006 spectators. Yet the game proved exciting, as Australia found the back of the net three times in the last ten minutes in a stellar come-from-behind victory. Never mind that neither team made much of an impression outside of this match.
- Germany’s Performance. Host team Germany performed stunningly at the 2006 World Cup. They opened the tournament with a hat trick of resounding victories, trouncing their way all the way to the semi-finals, where they would lose in a harrowing match to the Italian side, a team who would eventually take it all. Despite the loss, Germany’s stunning run made it hard not to root for the home team, and served as a World Cup 2006 highlight.