Ah, the FIFA World Cup 2006. A proper world sport, beloved by the majority of the globe and enjoyed on TV by hundreds of millions.

So, what’s the final verdict?

The winners

Italy are deserved winners – not because they were necessarily the best team at the tournament but because they were one of only a few teams to play like a team rather than a bunch of skilled individuals. The semi-final against Germany was one of the best World Cup games I’d ever seen with both sides playing attractive, adventurous football. It’s a real shame that this game wasn’t the final.

The runners-up

France pretty much summed up most of the tournament for me. Some days they were awful, some days brilliant. Sometimes both in the same game. I thought that they were dreadful against Portugal and yet still managed to progress to the final. There are some fantastic players in their team but it was often watching eleven individuals on the same pitch – some great skills but no end product.

The less said about Zidane’s moment of madness the better I think.


Amazing hosts and a very unlucky team. This World Cup will be mostly remembered for the incredible atmosphere generated by the German people. You could sense the excitement over the TV and most reporters at the games were saying how good the whole atmosphere was at the various stadia.

Nobody fancied Germany’s team to do much before the tournament started but they certainly proved a few critics wrong. They were one of the most exciting teams to watch for me and deserved their place in the semi-final. Any deficiencies in their team were rubbed out by good team spirit and the ability to play together. I was cheering for Germany once England were knocked out – I really hoped that they would win.


England didn’t properly turn up. They played 45 minutes of decent football against Sweden and that was pretty much it. So many talented players, but like some other team here no ability to play together. Yet another disappointing tournament for England and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last.

At least England flag suppliers made a killing.

The rest

Some really good teams lost out earlier than expected. Spain and Argentina must have been favourites to do well but neither did well against good opposition. Argentina looked fantastic against Serbia and Montenegro but looked like a very ordinary team against Germany. Spain once again flattered to deceive after showing so much promise in the group stages.

Some of the “lesser” teams provided some excellent entertainment. Ghana, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, among others, scared some of the bigger teams and provided the football neutrals with some excellent viewing. Australia were very unlucky against Italy and the USA could also claim the same thing.

All-in-all it turned out to be an excellent World Cup. As usual there’s a sense of anti-climax once it’s all finished – unless you’re Italian of course – but Germany proved to be excellent hosts and there were some very exciting games. The final was pretty decent too, even though it was spoiled somewhat by the Zidane foolishness.


So, why the title?

Well, you’re going to think that I’m a little odd. For some reason, every time France played and the commentator said the name of the talented French winger Ribery my brain automatically relied with the Jonathon Ross-esque version. I then started to repeat this every single time “Ribery” was spoken on TV. This poor guy will always be a part of a Monty Python’s Life of Brian for me now.

Roll on Euro 2008.

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