There can be little doubt the 2006 World Cup was one of the poorest ever staged, eclipsing even the farce that was the 2002 tournament, largely due to the fact that people were actually able to watch this World Cup as it was held in a reasonable place for a World Cup (ie. Europe).
For four weeks billions of fans worldwide were subject to a feast of cheating, diving and time wasting, with few teams showing interest in scoring goals or involving themselves in anything resembling entertaining football.
Goal averages almost reached the depths of Italia 90, with many teams scoring a single goal and advancing to the latter stages, with faceless and utterly disgusting teams like Switzerland and Ukraine making a mockery of football in general.
The tournament was won by a dull Italy side on penalties over an equally dull French side in a match known only for a head butt. The top scorer was Miroslav Klose, who notched a lousy five goals. Strikers were so inept there were no hat tricks at all. England went out on penalties as always to the surprise of nobody.
The first round was blighted by dire groups, including Group D which contained the nauseating combination of Portugal, Mexico, Angola and Iran. The Angola-Iran match was staged in a local park, with sweaters used for goal posts. The score was 17-14 to Iran, but later converted to a 1-1 draw, as to keep the goal average as low as possible.
Stale outfits like Italy, Germany, Brazil, France and Argentina all progressed through their hideous groups, joined by an England side who labored their way through wins over Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago. They also drew with Sweden in a major tournament again, failing for the 108th year to topple their world class Scandinavian nemesis.
Every game featured at least 10 yellow cards and three sending offs, yet somehow full stadiums were evident for clashes like Togo and Korea, which in 1990 would have attracted less than 5,000 paying fans. Highlights were scarce and a much lauded 25-pass Argentina goal against Serbia was really just the Argentines passing the ball around midfield to each other before deciding to score.
The second round opened with Germany beating Sweden 2-0 in a game that could have been 15-0, except Sweden had been bribed.
Argentina beat Mexico through a supposed wonder goal by Maxi Rodriguez that everyone convinced themselves was an all time classic, simply because nothing classic occurred at WC 06 at all.
England brushed by Ecuador through a botched save by the Ecuadorian keeper, as the lads continued ever on to their customary quarter final loss on penalties.
Portugal beat Holland in a game where every player was sent off, while Italy cheated in traditional fashion to knock out the Aussies, who despite being boring as shite, would have been an improvement over the dull Azzuri.
The boredom reached new levels as the Ukraine defeated Switzerland 5-3 on penalties, following a 0-0 draw so repulsive, even the 2004 Greek side condemned it. Rarely has world football plummeted to such depths, making the WC seem more devalued and pointless than ever.
Brazil thrashed Ghana, ending the hopes of Africa who hadn’t made any strides since 1990, despite Brian Glanville predicting they would win a world cup by 1994.
France knocked out Spain 3-1, unfairly forcing the world to endure another round of their miserable brand of football.
More atrocious football followed, as France beat Brazil 1-0 with their only shot on goal, while England went out on penalties to Portugal yet again. Rooney was sent off and Lampard’s penalty was worse than Yugoslavia’s Brnovic in 1990 against Argentina.
Germany beat Argentina on penalties, but because it was actually an entertaining match it was considered a flop by those hoping for a repeat of the 1990 final. Italy beat Ukraine 3-0, which was more goals in one game than the Italians had managed in their last 20 finals games dating back to 1982.
Neutrals turned away in droves as France beat Portugal 1-0 in a match so devoid of attacking football, the game was abandoned after the game winning penalty in the 57th minute. Portugal disgracefully failed to score for the second consecutive match and by now this WC was already tainted, stained and forgotten. France's run to the final thus served to ensure Raymond Domenech's woeful reign would be prolonged for a further four years.
Typically the Italians knocked out Germany 2-0, continuing a tradition where the wrong teams always make the final. This can be traced back to every tournament since 1982.
The third place match featured an unfathomable four goals, helping boost the goal average to above that of Italia 90 by 0.00001. The 3-1 win gave Germany a pointless honor over Portugal, who by now were on par with Ireland’s 1990 efforts.
The final was 120 minutes of nonsense, including France’s penalty which was a cheating, crap dive by some wanker. Italy won on penalties, the only way they could possibly win. People remember this match today simply for headcase Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt.
This was a bad World Cup.