The Germans gambled on Jurgen Klinsmann, one of the stars of their 1990 World Cup win, taking charge of the team despite having no managerial experience. Klinsmann freshened up the team and made them look like genuine contenders, especially when they knocked out Argentina on penalties to reach the last four.
Germany’s hopes of playing in a home final were ended by Italy in extra time in an absorbing semi final, while a rejuvenated France knocked out Spain, Brazil and Portugal to set up a showdown with the Italians.
Zinedine Zidane, star of the 1998 final win over Brazil, put the French ahead in the 2006 final with an early penalty, but Marco Materazzi equalised soon after.
As the final went into extra time, the two goalscorers were embroiled in one of the World Cup’s most infamous incidents as Zidane, in the last match of his career, was sent off for head-butting Materazzi.
France held on with ten men to take the match to penalties, but David Trezeguet was the only one to miss from the spot, as Italy won the shoot-out 5-3 to claim the World Cup for the fourth time.