Italy may have won the title, but there were other great performances during World Cup 2006
Diego Maradona 
The legendary Argentinian forward supported his team by dancing, screaming and shaking his out-of-shape body from the cheap seats. Except, that is, when they needed him most. Maradona refused to attend his team’s quarter-final loss to Germany after a member of his entourage was refused entry.
Ranked fifth in the world when the tournament began, the U.S. team managed only four shots on goal during their three games —the lowest of any team in the tourney (Trinidad and Tobago had seven; Tunisia had eight).
The five-time World Cup champions lost the fancy footwork that made them the heavy favourites in Germany in their 1-0 quarter-final loss to France.
England’s wives and girlfriends reportedly spent more than US$620,000 shopping and partying in Germany. Unfortunately, Prada and Gucci don’t sell goals— something their men desperately needed in their quarter-final loss to Portugal.
Wayne Rooney 
The English forward was issued a red card—and tossed from England’s final World Cup contestafter stepping on a Portuguese player’s privates. “I did not intentionally put my foot down on Ricardo Carvalho,” Rooney said. “He slid in from behind me and unfortunately ended up in a position where my foot was inevitably going to end up as I kept my balance.”
‘HE ENDED UP IN A POSITION WHERE MY FOOT WAS INEVITABLY GOING TO END UP’
BEST POST-GOAL CELEBRATIONS
After scoring Italy’s first goal against the U.S., the striker turned to his adoring fans, waved his hands as if to ask for silence, before dropping to his knees to play an air violin.
After scoring against Costa Rica, the Ecuadorian forward pulled a Spider-Man mask out of his shorts and stretched it over his face in honour of former teammate Otilino Tenorio, who died in a car crash last year. Tenorio, who was 29, would often don the mask after scoring and was given the superhero nickname.
The crafty French forward fell to the ground clutching his face after a chest-to-chest collision with Spain’s Carles Puyol. The ref called a controversial foul on Puyol, and on the ensuing free kick, France scored their second goal in a 3-1 victory.
Zinedine Zidane 
The French captain lost his cool and slammed his head into the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi. The soccer legend got tossed from the title game but still won the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s best player.
Two days before his team’s first game against Iran, the Mexican goalkeeper was forced to return home for the funeral of his father, who died suddenly of a heart attack. Sanchez prompdy returned to Germany and went on to play a starring role for his squad.
Brazilian striker set a record when he scored his 15th goal—most ever in World Cup play—despite moving around the pitch with a spare tire around his waist.
★ CAMERAMEN’S ★ FAVOURITES
Germany not only provided a grand stage for the world’s finest soccer talent, but also an international runway for the wives and girlfriends who showed up to cheer on their men:
As always, the most attention was bestowed on Victoria Beckham , the glamorous wife of the English team captain, who snuck away for a couple of days soon after play began and ended up in Winnipeg. There, she reportedly met with Canadian jean designer 1921.
The former Spice Girl was often flanked at games by Cheryl Tweedy [l], a pop singer and fiancée of defender Ashley Cole. After returning home to England, Tweedy spoke out against other English wives and girlfriends for living off their men’s money.
Janelle Khouri , the Canadian girlfriend of England’s Calgary-born midfielder Owen Hargreaves, kept a low profile. The former Canadian national team soccer player is currently at school in Florence.
Czech model Alena Seredova , the girlfriend of Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, took part in the pre-Cup fashion show.
★ TAKING ★ SHOTS
“If Brazil are the best team in the World Cup then I am Geri Halliwell.”—Elton John .
“Germans criticize us but then they want to dress and eat like us.”—Italian defender Alessandro Nesta.
“If they make noise or cheer as they watch, they will lose their
monkhoods.”—Phnom Penh leader Non Nget warned Buddhist monks in Cambodia that getting too excited while watching the World Cup has consequences.
“The only time they would be happy is if it was square and heavy.”—U.S. head coach Bruce Arena  dismissing goalkeepers’ complaints about the 2006 World Cup ball—15 million of the Adidas balls  have been sold worldwide since it was released.
“We can barely sleep because of the croaking. We are going to hunt them.”—Ukraine defender Vladislav Vashchuk  blamed mating frogs outside the team’s
hotel for why his team was thrashed 4-0 by Spain.
“No one has nicer teeth than me. Why would anyone laugh at my lovely teeth?”—Ronaldinho, Brazil’s star forward.
“Goooooal! Game over! Italy win! Beat the Australians! Italy the great! The victory belongs to Italy, to everyone who loves Italian soccer! [Australia] should go home. Farewell!”—Chinese TV announcer Huang Jianxiang , who made international headlines and apologized for his onair outburst that favoured the Azzurri (it has since become a popular ringtone in China).
“We might as well take up basketball if they are going to blow for every slight contact.”—Swiss captain Johann Vogel , after five teammates were booked by the refs against France.
“Victoria is very thin. I leaned forward to kiss her but almost missed.”—Tory leader David Cameron after meeting the famous Mrs. Beckham.
“There are the tackles from behind I’ve seen go unpunished and thè violent conduct that has escaped sanction, not to mention the serious errors made in applying rules.”—FIFA president Sepp Blatter blasted the refs.
★ NOT YOUR AVERAGE * SOCCER HOOLIGANS
A German motorist who crashed his car through a barrier around Berlin’s World Cup “fan mile,” injuring more than 20 people, is being investigated for attempted murder.
Angered by late-night revellers celebrating Portugal’s quarterfinal win over England, a man shot and wounded two fans outside his apartment near Nice. When police arrived, the 58-yearold postal worker threatened them with a sword. He was promptly shot and killed.
A pair of Islamic gunmen in Somalia were accused of opening fire on a crowd of young demonstrators who were protesting a ban on watching the World Cup in the African country. A cinema owner—who was screening the Germany-Italy semifinal— and a young girl were killed.
Two men were arrested in Berlin and accused of causing bodily harm by placing cement-filled soccer balls around the city and inviting people to kick them. At least two people were injured.
★ OFFSIDE ★
Red and yellow cards were being issued with abandon off the field as well
Following Mexico’s 3-1 win over Iran in their opener, the team’s chain-smoking head coach Ricardo La Volpe [l] received a letter from FIFA requesting that he refrain from lighting up on the sidelines. Apparently, league officials became annoyed when television cameras picked up the stylish Mexican puffing secondhand smoke into the pitch.
About a thousand Dutch fans showed up for an early rounder against Ivory Coast in orange dungarees with a Dutch brewery logo on them. Since FIFA had received millions to make Budweiser the World Cup’s official beer, the fans were forced to drop their pants to get through the stadium gates. “I watched the game in my underpants,” said a Dutch fan. “Fortunately I had quite a long T-shirt.”
Authorities in Nuremberg handed out the “Fans’ Guide” to thousands of English fans in Germany at the start of the World Cup in the hope of curtailing riotous behaviour. The blue card detailed how fans should behave. Playing nice meant refraining from the Nazi salute, which was high on the list. Goose-stepping and wearing Nazi helmets—although not illegal—were identified as being offensive to Germans.
‘I WATCHED THE GAME IN MY UNDERPANTS. FORTUNATELY, I HAD QUITE A LONG T-SHIRT.’
★ DOS AND★ DON’TS
The most original World Cup hairstyles
Argentinian defenders Juan Sorin and Fabricio Coloccini  battled it out in the backfield over who has more delicate tresses.
Angola defender Loco  could be called crazy for sporting nothing more than dreadlock bangs.
★ SEX AND ★ SOCCER DON’T MIX
A German sex-shop chain made headlines when it was announced that they were marketing a David B dildo (and other devices with similar references to soccer stars). Not surprisingly, the sex toys weren’t officially endorsed by the English captain or any other player. The company dropped the names when the threat of a lawsuit was mentioned.
The tourney attracted 40,000 prostitutes from all over Europe (in addition to the 400,000 registered in Germany). As well, a four-storey brothel, with a pool and a movie theatre, opened in Berlin last month. But it turned out that most of the fans were more interested in the soccer action. The result: bored sex workers. M
Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson  may have single-handedly brought back the rat-tail. Or maybe not.
Ivory Coast’s Ndri Romaric’s  perfectly channelled former NBA star Dennis Rodman.
Chun-Soo Lee  went big and blond, but the South Korean midfielder and his teammates didn’t have much fun after getting grouped with Brazil and Australia in the opening round.
Ronaldinho’s  game is certainly beautiful. His long locks, however, are another story.
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