The world has come a long way since 2006. Back then we had not even reached the age of the smartphone; that seemingly irreplaceable tool used by millions of people the world over. Facebook had less than 1million users in the UK and at the time if you had a purple Motorola razor flip phone you were at the forefront of technology. Even the ‘selfie’ had not been invented yet with the camera phone in its early years.
In the movies Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was the film of the month grossing millions at the cinema and proving to be a great escape for those people eager to avoid football events in Germany.
In the music world, Paul McCartney turned ’64 years old’ while in world politics Montenegro had just declared independence after a referendum was held in late May 2006. The Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved on 5th June just 4 days before the World Cup kicked off leaving Serbia and Montenegro separate states.
It seems incredible that it is now 10 long years since Germany hosted the event and the tournament is now remembered for its effective organisation, fan festivities and the enthusiastic buy-in of the German people.
The tournament itself opened to great effect with Germany defeating Costa Rica by 4-2 in Munich, the highest score in an opening match ever. The enthusiasm then continued with the 1-0 win for Germany over Poland in Dortmund; the last-minute goal striker Oliver Neuville scored put the Germans through.
Manager Jurgen Klinsmann had by this time set the tone with his enthusiastic celebrations on the touchline.
Suddenly across Germany, a patriotic wave started as each and every household seemed to display a German flag. Before the tournament, it was said 81.7% of people were behind the event. Once it started the hosting of the World Cup became an all-consuming celebration as Germans young and old left aside the traditional non-patriotic stance held since 1945 to fly the national flag with national pride and welcome guests from around the world.
Suddenly it was ‘A Time to make friends’, the official slogan of the world cup.
Given Germany’s love of beer, there was probably no better place for the “Fan Fest” concept to be successful. Each match was televised on huge free outdoor venues within the 12 venue cities. FIFA through this concept had the opportunity to showcase its corporate partners to millions of visitors.
The World Cup was nothing new to Germany given the West had held and won the event in 1974. But by 2000 football had moved on considerably even since the last World Cup in Europe (France 1998) was held. Germany was now a unified nation, and cities in both the former East (Leipzig) and West (Hamburg) would play host.
Germany had been awarded the event back in 2000 after South Africa were defeated 12-11 in a close head-to-head voting contest in Zurich. Earlier England and Morocco had been defeated and edged out leaving Germany the outstanding favourites. Franz Beckenbauer celebrated in Zurich alongside supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Boris Becker and the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Millions were spent renovating a large amount of then outdated and shabby stadiums and in some cases building new ones. A total of €300m was spent on the new Allianz Stadium in Munich and almost €240m was spent on renovating the legacy stadiums in Koln and Frankfurt.
The event itself created 50,000 new jobs and the economic impact last for a few years after generating the additional economic value of about 1.5 billion euros in both 2007 and 2008.
The German organising committee was headed by its greatest ever player – Franz Beckenbauer – the man who had captained West Germany to victory as hosts at the 1974 World Cup. It was also Der Kaiser who was a coach when they reached 1986 final and lifted the trophy in Italy 4 years later thanks to the penalty of Andreas Brehme.
He eventually became the tournament’s de facto Fussball ambassador appearing at nearly all the games across Germany. And, if you read a magazine or watched television in Germany at the time, his face appeared in adverts alongside nearly every tournament corporate partner from Gillette to Adidas.
While at the time the event went without hitch (aside from Germany’s defeat in the Dortmund semi-final to Italy) the ethics surrounding the bidding process have been called into question in recent years. Claims that a slush fund of €6.7 million was used to buy votes for Germany have surfaced and were made by Der Spiegel – largely related to contractual payments.
Current controversy aside a total of 32 teams competed in the tournament playing at 12 venues from the largest the Olympic Stadium in Berlin to the smaller Fritz Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern.
A total of 63 matches were played until it all eventually came down to the final 64th match in Berlin, a tense match off between France and Italy. The Italians would eventually beat France 5-3 in a penalty shootout to win the World Cup after an absorbing 1-1 draw.
Zinedine Zidane had put France ahead early on with a coolly-taken chipped penalty before lanky defender Materazzi levelled with a header from an Andrea Pirlo corner. But playing in his last ever game before retiring Zinedine Zidane’s career ended in disgrace after he was sent off for a crazy head-butting episode with Marco Materazzi.
For Germany, the pain of the semi-final defeat was eased thanks to the 3rd place win over Portugal. But the Italian win capped an incredible period for Italian football with its domestic game at the time embroiled in a corruption scandal similar to that of 1982.
By the time the event had finished Germany’s image as a foreign destination had improved greatly. Around 21 million people visited the official FIFA ‘Fan Fests’ in the twelve host cities, exceeding all expectations of how many the public screenings and “Fan Miles” would attract.
By the middle of the tournament, some cities even had to expand the areas they had set aside. A total of nine million people came to the Berlin fan mile alone, the first time an event in Germany recorded more visitors than the Oktoberfest, the largest public festival in the world. Three million people went to the FIFA Fan Fest in Cologne and around 1.9 million did the same in Frankfurt.
In a post-tournament survey, a total of 91% of German people thought that the World Cup slogan “A time to make friends’ held true.
And lots of the fans who came from abroad and visited Germany felt the same by the conclusion of the event.
You can see images from the World Cup of 2006 here.
Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Materazzi, Grosso, Camoranesi (Del Piero 86), Pirlo, Gattuso, Perrotta (Iaquinta 61), Totti (De Rossi 61), Toni.
Subs Not Used: Amelia, Barone, Barzagli, Gilardino, Inzaghi, Nesta, Oddo, Peruzzi, Zaccardo
Goals: Materazzi 19
France: Barthez, Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal, Ribery (Trezeguet 100), Vieira (Diarra 56), Makelele, Zidane, Malouda, Henry (Wiltord 107)
Subs Not Used: Boumsong, Chimbonda, Coupet, Dhorasoo, Givet, Govou, Landreau, Silvestre
Sent Off: Zidane (110).
Booked: Sagnol, Diarra, Malouda.
Goals: Zidane 7 pen
Italy win 5-3 on penalties.
Ref: Horacio Marcelo Elizondo (Argentina).