Neither Germans nor Italians had held high hopes for their respective country’s performance in the 2006 World Cup. Both football superpowers had failed to survive the group stages during Euro 2004, and a lack of newly emerged talent meant there was little reason to expect a brighter future. But Italy and Germany haven’t gained a reputation for their tournament prowess for nothing. From the first match of the 2006 World Cup, the German hosts played football with surprising audacity. The Italians displayed a less entertaining brand of football – but one that proved to be at least as effective. Which of the two styles would be the path to the final?
Buffon – Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Materazzi, Grosso – Camoranesi, Perrotta, Gattuso, Pirlo – Totti, Toni
Coach: Marcelo Lippi
Lehmann – Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm – Borowski, Ballack, Kehl, Schneider – Klose,
Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann