2002 FIFA World Cup Third-Place Game and Final
2002 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 5

After the drama of the Semi-Finals, many didn't think that they could end up being just as intense though that would end up not being the case whenever rivals England and Argentina meet and even though this was just a third place game in which wouldn't help ease the feeling of failing to reach the final, that didn't mean to say that big pride was on the line. The two hadn't faced each other since that game at the last World Cup in which Argentina had been victorious then [1] and so to say the English wanted revenge would be an understatement.

The opening of the game would be quite an end-to-end game in which both sides had decent chances to take the lead though there would be a number of fouls taking place and the Kuwaiti referee had quite a game to handle in a desperate attempt to keep the game moving and things would really happen near the end of the first half in which England were awarded a penalty and Beckham, the villain for England last time around, scored the goal to give his country the lead [2].

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Tackles galore in the game with England and Argentina
The second half would bring some chances for England to add to their lead though Argentina would get slowly start to get back in the game yet despite looking quite much the better team towards the end, Argentina just couldn't find themselves the goal to help get them back in the end and ultimately, England would be the victorious team here and were the third-place winners [3].

For both sides, it was something of an anti-climax and now both looked forward for the World Cup in 2006 and the hopes that both would be able to better themselves there and maybe face off each other next time in yet another rematch. For now though, both side's Japanese adventure was over.

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England players celebrate the victory over Argentina

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Final result of the Third Place game at the 2002 World Cup

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With that game out of the way, it was time for the final against ever the favourite, Brazil, and final debutants Spain in what many expected to be the game in which Spain ended 32 years of hurt though such pressure was never a good thing for any Brazilian side who had come close many times but always falling short [4]. Despite Brazil going into this game looking the stronger team, Spain would be a stubborn side to try and break down and ultimately it would be 0-0 going into the break.

The second half would see Spain carrying on this backs to the wall performance as Brazil huffed and puffed and yet just could not seem to find the goal they crave for in which they hoped would cause the Spanish to fall apart. For any Brazilian fan, they would have been starting to feel fear up until the 67th minute with Ronaldo finally broke the deadlock to give Brazil the much deserved opening.

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Brazil vs Spain in the final
As perhaps expected, Spain pretty much gave up after that goal as Brazil went on to torment the European side with Ronaldo scoring another in the 79th minute and not long after that, Ronaldinho scored the third and that surely was it for Brazil to end their World Cup trophy drought after so long. Spain though would get a goal right at the death but it would be nothing more than a mere consolation for in the end, Brazil had finally got their hands on the cup for the fourth time and 32 years of hurt were over [5].

As a nation celebrated this long overdue wait, the Spanish were of course quite sad that their brave and plucky run to the final had ended in such a harsh defeat however hopes now looked ahead for the Euros in 2004 and of course the World Cup in 2006 were hopes were now sky high if they could try and go one step better. For now though, the first Asian hosted World Cup was over and in this new expanded world of football, new frontiers were about to emerge...[6]

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Brazil players celebrated at winning the World Cup for the fourth time

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Final result of the 2002 World Cup final

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  • [1] Both as with OTL and ITTL.
  • [2] As with OTL.
  • [3] England win the game like OTL though this time being in the Third Place game.
  • [4] Long wait for Brazil ITTL.
  • [5] Compared to OTL in which they have won it 5 times, not so lucky here.
  • [6] Not so Germany as with OTL...!
Finally, 2002 is over and I suppose these are all results you might've expected. Anyway hoped you enjoyed 2002 and we move onto 2006 and things will be different here with who is hosting it as we look at the qualified teams below:

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Notice something about it that's different? Oh yes, things are changing at FIFA but all might not be well by giving South Africa the hosting rights, but why? Until then, find out next time as we head to Africa four years ahead of OTL!
 

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2006 FIFA World Cup Seeding and Group Stage
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 1

When it was heard that for the first time ever, the World Cup would be held on the African continent for the 2006 edition there was great excitement by many, especially across Africa who felt this was deserved after all the years African teams had done for themselves at the World Cup. By a coincidence, 2006 would mark the 40th anniversary in which African teams were allowed an automatic spot at the World Cup in which Ghana and Tunisia had went then and by chance would also make it for this edition [1].

Behind the joy however, the voting for South Africa to host it had been mired in controversy over how it had only gotten the victory by one mere vote over the German bid which the latter itself had been full of claims of bribery and bias. It was a messy situation to some but that was far from the end of it the moment construction work began on the stadiums...[2]

While FIFA had been hoping for that to be trouble free once building work began, things would quickly go off the rails as construction would be delayed many times due to Finacle, planning, union strikes and the many cries of corruption that seemed to not only blight FIFA but looking like it might conspire to bring down the tournament [3]. To say that awarding the World Cup to South Africa was a mistake would be an understatement and to add further embarrassment, the FIFA Confederations Cup would instead have to be hosted in Spain due to the stadiums not even being finished. Despite everything and with months to go, the work was finally completed but FIFA would instead change the voting system to avoid further mess ups in future [4].

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Seeding and Final Draw for the 2006 World Cup
Despite all the mishaps happening in South Africa, qualification for the World Cup went on without further incident and with it saw the draw would bring up several interesting groups with the opening match being of the hosts South Africa taking on an unknown Uruguay [5] and with it began the 2006 World Cup...

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Despite being the hosts, South Africa would be unable to beat Uruguay who would dispatch them 2-1 and things didn't get any better for the hosts as a draw with Sweden followed which meant all South African needed was a win to see them through...however despite taking the lead on Costa Rica and with Uruguay beating Sweden for them, Costa Rica would stun the African to get a draw and thus condemned the hosts to a humiliating early exit, the first that had ever happened to a host nation at a World Cup [6].

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The Costa Rica team lining up for the anthems, a tournament to forget about for them.

Uruguay would win the group with full points but it would be Sweden who would, despite not really fancying their chances of going through, ended up taking the runners up spot in a very comfortable place and looked like a team that might be out with a point to prove though it was Uruguay that caught many eyes with many looking at them as some sort of a dark horse...

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Final results of Group A at the 2006 World Cup

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Group B would bring up a surprise draw which saw England and Scotland in the same group and both looked to be favourites to go through and with it a group featuring the likes of Paraguay and Saudi Arabia it was safe to assume that was how things would go. Both sides would win their opening matches 1-0, though Scotland's game was a rather scrappy game in which their goal came near the end. A victory for England over the Saudis would put them through while Scotland fell to a 1-1 draw with Paraguay.

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England vs Paraguay at the 2006 World Cup

England and Scotland would face each other in their last game in which the Scots needed a result to assure their hopes into the next round though they would end up getting beat 3-1 and it was all very fearful for them...that was until the news came through that Paraguay and Saudi Arabia could only get a goalless draw and with them pretty much confirmed the Scots going through into the next round. With England looking to go one step better than last year, Scotland were too looking to play into their plucky underdog status...


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Final results of Group B at the 2006 World Cup

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Much like England, Argentina were hoping to go one step better and they found themselves blessed to be a in group with the USA, Poland and Iran; all of whom Argentina would end up beating as many predicted. However the real story would be the draw would end up having the United States playing Iran in which in terms of the two nations being not on great terms with each other with a lot riding on it especially as in the previous game [7], the Americans had lost to Argentina and needed to avoid defeat or they'd go out.

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Argentine players celebrating their winning goal over the United States

Despite the tensions, the game would be a draw and things would get better for the United States as a victory over a lacklustre Poland [8] would be enough to see the United States go through via as runners-up [9]. With Argentina looking like a team this season with stacks of talent to go all the way, the United States were also wanting to show the world that they could cause an upset or two here in Africa...

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Final results of Group C at the 2006 World Cup

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Group D was looked on by many as one for Spain and Portugal to go through without much fuss though the draw would bring up Portugal taking on it's former African colony of Angola which proved to be something of a interesting encounter in which in the end, Portugal won 1-0 [10]. In the end, both European sides would go through and poor Ecuador would have a poor campaign by ending up in third place.

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Portugal
vs Angola at the 2006 World Cup
While Portugal were looking to prove themselves on the World stage, Spain knew that after their unlikely run to the final in the last tournament that this would come with pressure to see if they could try and not only repeat it by this time win the tournament. However one could never be too careful when thinking lightning would strike twice when at the World Cup...

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Final results of Group D at the 2006 World Cup

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To say Group E would be rather one-sided would be an understatement for good reason. The world champions, Brazil, would end up dominating the group winning all their group games and with a high goal difference too. Question was who would end up finishing behind them as runners up and despite both Ukraine and Czechoslovakia thinking they would go through, they would end up being left embarrassed by Japan who took the glory there [11].

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Brazil vs Japan in the group stage
To say no one expected Japan to get it good was thought by many but a draw with the Czechs and adding to a last minute winner over Ukraine would send the Asian side into an unlikely winning spot which suddenly lifted the mood of the country and with it their own chances of getting something out of this World Cup. For the European teams though...red faced by the end of it.

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Final Group E results of the 2006 World Cup

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Group F would be this World Cup's group of death as it featured Germany, Holland, Australia and Tunisia. Germany would end up winning the group though did suffer a slight blemish with a draw with Tunisia in which the latter by this point was way out of it. It would though have one of the dramatic finishes for the second place spot in which in their final group game in which saw both Australia and the Dutch tied on points and playing in their last group game in what was a winner takes all decider, it would be dramatic.

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Australian players celebrate after their winning goal over
Tunisia
It would be a game of two penalties in which a rather tense and bad tempered game would see both goals being spot kicks and it would be remember for infamous tackles and a sending off or two...[12]. Despite both trying to find the winning goal, neither side could find it and it would be Australia would be go through via the smallest of goal differences and a hugely disappointed Dutch side were out of the World Cup. A shock by all accounts.

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Final Group F results of the 2006 World Cup

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Group G would witness a rather eventful group in which Italy ended up winning the group with full points and much ease, however it would bring up a surprise in which a fancied Mexican side would end up missing the next round as Ghana, backed by most African locals there would do enough to see them through and the hopes that an African side would do well on African soil.

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Italy
after winning their final group game over Mexico
The last and certainly least team in the group was poor old Yugoslavia. If Mexico felt they had it bad it was nothing compared to the Yugoslavs who ended up rock bottom without a single point to their tally. Was the end of an era of just a very bad World Cup for them? Regardless, Yugoslavia and Mexico would both find themselves out of Africa in more ways than one.

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Final results of Group F at the 2006 World Cup

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The final Group would be one for France to win the group with full points and was a major improvement and contrast to disaster that had befell on then then World Cup winners then. However it would be a surprise to some that despite the Swiss thinking they had a chance to go through, it would end up being one to forget for them as they would end up in third place and out of Africa, not helped thanks to a loss to the French [13].

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France vs the Swiss at the 2006 World Cup
Taking the second place spot would be none other than Ivory Coast, much to the delight of the local African population who wanted to see an African side reach the knockout stages. With that though, the group stage games were over and with it were several interesting results which only added to the unknown about this World Cup. Now with the knockout stage here...who knew what might happen now?

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Final Group H results of the 2006 World Cup

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  • [1] Funny coincidence at least in the events of TTL.
  • [2] South Africa gets the vote here unlike what happened IOTL, but as you can see things don't go exactly at plan here.
  • [3] It's FIFA...what'd you expect? A fair FIFA would be ASB in any TL! :p
  • [4] The voting system is changed here so expected different hosts in upcoming World Cups.
  • [5] Due to different qualification process for OFC, Uruguay qualify here.
  • [6] Same fate happens to South Africa here as hosts though four years earlier.
  • [7] Much like OTL 1998 encounter.
  • [8] Poland go out as OTL.
  • [9] Unlike OTL in which they finished bottom, though US soccer is improved here.
  • [10] As IOTL.
  • [11] Japan do better here than OTL.
  • [12] The game ends up being like the infamous Portugal vs Netherlands game in OTL.
  • [13] Unlike in OTL in which the Swiss drew with France.
At last, the long overdue update and a World Cup in South Africa four years earlier! Sorry it took so long to update but I've had other things to do in that time, plus I'd like to give my sympathies to our Argentine readers for the death of Maradona. RIP to the man who knocked out the English with his hand, hehe...all seriousness though, what a loss to the world of football. Anyway, here is our last 16 fixtures as follows:
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Uruguay vs Scotland

Argentina vs Portugal

Brazil vs Australia

Italy vs Ivory Coast

England vs Sweden

Spain vs United States

Germany vs Japan

France vs Ghana
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Who will win and why? And as a side question, what has your favourite World Cup been ITTL so far? Mines is a toss up between 1966 or 1982. Until then, catch you later!






 
Uruguay vs Scotland

Argentina vs Portugal

Brazil vs Australia

Italy vs Ivory Coast

England vs Sweden

Spain vs United States

Germany vs Japan

France vs Ghana
 
Is Germany still one of the best teams in history here? Or have they sucked and not gotten close to being a 4 time champ?

I really just want Germany to win it all, or for a country like Iceland to win :)
 
Is Germany still one of the best teams in history here? Or have they sucked and not gotten close to being a 4 time champ?

I really just want Germany to win it all, or for a country like Iceland to win :)
A bit ropey here. Not quite as good here though they will likely win another World Cup soon ITTL.
 
2006 FIFA World Cup Last 16
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 2

The first of the last 16 games would start off with the two smallest populated nations left at the World Cup being Scotland and Uruguay. It would be a rather tense game in which the cool climate in the South African winter helped both teams being more at home and yet despite this neither could find the break through to help them get in front. With score still at 0-0 at full time, the game went into extra time and the deadlock would finally be broken when from a Scotland corner, Kenny Miller managed to get his head on the ball to bang it in and give Scotland the lead.

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Miller celebrates after putting Scotland in front
Uruguay then woke up and tried to do all they could to try and claw back a goal to get back into the game but alas despite putting Scotland for much on the backfoot, Scotland held on to win and progress to the last eight and Uruguay were left dismayed at what had happened for their World Cup hopes [1]. For the Scotland team and their traveling Tartan Army, they were hopeful they could carry this on into the next round. How far could they go...?

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Later on that day would see Argentina take on Portugal and the forth place team from the last tournament were in no mood to lose to Portugal with the South Americans pretty much dominating the game with them getting a goal in the 10th minute, however Portugal would stun Argentina when they got a goal in the 23rd minute and it looked like things might be about to go wrong for them. However a strong second half would see Argentina fire in two more goals without reply to win the game 3-1.

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Argentina players celebrate after beating Portugal

For Portugal, it was all rather disappointing for them in which despite showing a good deal of promise in the group stage, it had all gone down hill in this game and now the only thing that Portugal could do now was focus on their efforts for the next tournament which lay ahead. For the always strong Argentina, they were licking their lips as to waiting for who they might face next...

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The next day would kick off with England taking on a tricky Swedish side in which would be one of the most exciting games of the round of sixteen. England would start off well getting the first goal in the 34th minute, however Sweden would strike back in the 51st with a goal of their own but England got another goal in the 85th minute which surely looked liked they were going through...up until the 90th minute with Larrson struck to take the game to extra-time [2].

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England vs Sweden in the Knockout stage
Extra-time would be a gruelling one for England as Sweden were looking the more positive thanks to their late goal and pressed England to see if they could find a shock winner. Then right in the 112th minute and with penalties looming, England were awarded a penalty which Beckham slotted away and that was enough to send England through to the Quarter-Finals. Sweden were left dismayed of how close they had come but England went marching on, though many questions remained about them...

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Following that epic game, Spain and the United States were next to play and to say everything was stacked against the United States would be an understatement. Spain would dominate the match and deservedly took the lead in the 28th minute thanks to a penalty and many would assumed more were to follow. However Spain couldn't quite add to their lead and to make things more tense, the Americans struck back with a goal from out of nowhere to put them level and to make things more stranger, the game went into extra-time.

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Spain when things looked all so well...
Extra-time came and went with the United States 'parking the bus' and with that came spot kicks to decide this tie. Despite the USA missing their first penalty which was saved, they would score all their next four while Spain missed two of their spot kicks and to the shock of many, the United States would the shootout at 4-3. For the runners-up at the last World Cup, it was a humiliating exit and many wondered what now for Spain. For America...anything was now possible [3].

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The next day would have a plucky Australia taking on the mighty World Champions Brazil though it's fair to say pretty much no one other than every Australian in the world were backing the Socceroos to make history here. However what followed would be a rather one-sided and somewhat typical easy performance from Brazil who had no trouble in taking apart Australia 2-0 and dumping them out of the World Cup [4].

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Devastated Australian players after their team's loss to Brazil
Many were hoping for many more good things to happen for Australian football in the years ahead in which the hopes of hosting a World Cup were now thought as being quite promising to say the least but the question was would the nation be still up for despite what had happened here in South Africa? For the meantime though, Brazil were hoping to defend their crown...

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With this World Cup being held in Africa, there would a lot of support for any African left and in this case most support would be with the Ivory Coast against Italy. While the latter were the favourites, it would be a shock when the Africans took the lead within seventeen minutes and the sense of a shock was on the cards. However Italy got a bck with five minutes left of the first half remaining which put the game back into balance for the second half...

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Italy after getting the goal to get them back into the game

Despite Italy getting back into the game, Ivory Coast would hold off waves of Italian attacks in the hope that they could take this game into extra-time, alas it was not to be as Italy would break African hearts when they scored in the 83rd minute to send Italy through to the last eight. Will there be an African team reaching to the last four of this World Cup?

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The final day of the round of sixteen would start off with France taking on Ghana and much like with Ivory Coast, many were rooting for Ghana who were now the last remaining Africa team left at the World Cup. While the French were the favourites, Ghana would make things difficult for them and things would turn on the head when Ghana would stun the French by getting a goal in the 76th minute and a shock exit for France was certain...then a few minutes later, Vieira would rescue France to take the game to extra-time.

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Happy Ghana fans in South Africa
To make things worse for Ghana, it wouldn't take long until one Zidane would score six minutes into extra-time which in the end would prove to be all that was needed to help France win the game and with that, dump Africa's last represented at Africa's World Cup. A sad end for Ghana but one for hope for the French for their chances coming up...

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The final match would see Germany take on Japan in a game that many all seemed to agree that this was going to be a German victory and thus that is what happened in which a largely uneventful game from a German point of view in which they would win 3-0 and dumping the Japanese out of the World Cup and German hopes of doing better from the last World Cup look very promising...

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German players after they score the first goal against Japan
With that, the last of the round of 16 matches were over and now all eyes focused on the last eight in which as things had happened before was when many interesting results would take place...

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Final results of the Last 16 results

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  • [1] Better at least for Uruguay here as they didn't qualify for 2006 IOTL.
  • [2] The game is pretty much the same as the OTL game with extra time added on here.
  • [3] Things are going well for the United States here...
  • [4] Australia go out of the last 16 like OTL though not in controversial circumstances.
Here we are with the long overdue update which is finally here. Anyway, here are the fixtures coming up:
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Scotland vs Argentina

Brazil vs Italy

England vs United States

Germany vs France
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So who will go through and why, plus a question to ask, do you want to see ITTL to see Australia host a World Cup in 2010 or 2014 and speaking of which, which World Cups in the future would you like to see hosted where about? Until then, catch you guys later!

 
2006 FIFA World Cup Quater-Finals
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 3

The first match of the last eight would be one of the most dramatic games between Brazil and Italy. While the first half would be a tense affair, Brazil would end up breaking the deadlock in injury time at the end of the first half to give them the lead and for many that might've caused Italy to let their heads go down and end up losing, instead however they would not only get back into the game but actually take the lead thanks to two goals by Toni and suddenly Italy looked liked they were about to dump out the champions.

However within the final nine minutes, Ronaldo would score to put Brazil level yet Italy were hanging on for dear life which looked as though things were about to move into extra-time up until the dying moments of injury time in which Juninho broke Italian hearts with the winning goal that saw Brazil sneak into the Quarter-Finals [1] at Italy's expense which saw them go out [2].

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One happy Ronaldo after the final whistle
While sad as it was for Italy, it had for the rest of the world had been a true thriller which could've gone either way and it was difficult to see how the other games were going to top that, but in football, anything is always possible...

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To say Scotland's task to try and overcome Argentina for a place in the last eight was a true mountain of a task would be an understatement. That all said, Scotland had always done well while being ranked as plucky underdogs and that always gave them hope to having a chance to win and after what they had done to Uruguay, surely Argentina would follow?

In this game, Scotland couldn't have asked for a better start as they rushed out the traps and from a resulting corner kick, Scotland took the lead thanks to a McFadden header in the 7th minute. However Argentina were not ones to lie down so easily as a few minutes later, Ayala would help put Argentina back into the game and from then on Argentina started to take the game by the neck yet Scotland would not budge and the game went into extra-time.

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Ayala after scoring to put Argentina back into the game
Despite huffing and puffing to knock the Scots down, Argentina failed to break through and despite many good chances to win the game, the match would be settled on penalties. In the end, Argentina would score all four spot kicks while Miller and Boyd would both miss their penalty kicks and thus Scotland's brave run came to an end and Argentina were through [3]. Two South American giants were through...

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The following day would start off with an unlikely but nonetheless fascinating contest between England and the United States. The game perhaps having more added spice for the Americans due to the fact that the game was just a few days away from Independence day; independence from the United Kingdom then and here representing them would be England and the latter would be something of pantomime villains here.

Despite England be odds on favourites, the Americans would give themselves a good outcome of themselves by frustrating the English and hoping they could cause another upset like Spain and by the time half time was reached, the score was still at 0-0 and there was a feeling that things were going to go not all according to plan for England...

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Lampard during the game
During the second half, some lack of concentration from England did see the United States get a few good chances to try and break the deadlock but sadly hopes of the underdog being the winner were all but dashed when in the 83rd minute, Lampard flicked in a shot that went over the American goalkeeper and with that came the goal that give the winning goal to take them to the last four. Despite being winners, much praise was given to the Americans and many wondered if this English team had it in them to be better [4].

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The final game of the Quarter-finals would be a true clash of titans as France took on Germany and this game would be quite the thriller as the game would be played end to end and the first goal would come just before the break from the Germans thanks to Klose. In the second half, that late goal had led to the Germans to cruise and looked set to extend their lead up until Henry scored in the 57th minute to make things level.

From then on, the game would become quite a tense affair with no one wanting to make a mistake that might cost the game for the losing team...which in this case would be France as thanks to some bad defending in one brief moment, Podolski would break through the French defence and ended up scoring a screamer that would ultimately send the Germans through the Semi-Finals.

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Zidane complains to his teammates as they are about to face elimination
With that though, France were out [5] and the Germans were back in the Semi finals for the first time in years and the confidence for them was building and who knows what they could be able to do in the next round. However for now, the Quarter-finals were over and the world awaited for the final four in which had a tasty look with it featuring Argentina, Brazil, England and now the Germans; who would be the winner...?

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Final results of the 2006 Quarter-Finals

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  • [1] Unlike OTL in which they fell at this stage.
  • [2] In far contrast to OTL in which they won, no WC for Italy here.
  • [3] Unlike which like 1, Argentina went out at this point.
  • [4] England fell at this stage but are doing better here...for now.
  • [5] France would IOTL reach the final.
The update is here and wow, quite a stacked last four you have to say. Anyway sorry for the long wait, Xmas shopping had to be done which I'm happy to say is more or less finished for me. Now for the final fixture lists:
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Argentina vs Brazil

England vs Germany
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So, you know the routine, however as we get towards the end of this World Cup, I would like to ask you help in a voting for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup hosts with the following I'd like you to pick from...
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2010: Germany, England or Mexico
2014: Brazil, Australia or Morocco
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Hope you can help me with that and I hope you enjoyed this update, always nice to hear from all of you lovely people out there, until then, stay safe!
 
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