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World Cup 2006 Review - Semi Finals & Final

The World Cup is over for another four years and it was Italy that were crowned World champions. Here is a short round up of the semi final, third and fourth place play off and the final.

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The World Cup is over for another four years and it was Italy, rather than hosts Germany or a rejuvenated France, that were crowned World champions. Here is a short round up of the semi final, third and fourth place play off and the final itself to complete BetBonus.co.uk’s comprehensive coverage of the greatest tournament in the world.

Semi Finals

Germany vs Italy was arguably the best match of the tournament. Both are traditionally defensive sides but this year have shown attacking prowess like never before. The match was goalless at 90 minutes, proving the cautious bookmaker’s called the draw correctly at meagre 2/1 odds but the match was not without incident. Alberto Gilardino’s effort rebounded off the post and Gianluca Zambrotta's drive struck the bar. Lukas Podolski led the German attacking threat, missing the header from David Odonkor's cross and forcing a brilliant one handed save from Gianluigi Buffon.

The match was heading for penalties until two goals in the final two minutes of the game stunned the hosts. Impressive left back Fabio Gross hit an unstoppable first time shot and a minute later substitute Alessandro Del Piero collected a pass and struck firmly into the top corner beyond the advancing Jens Lehmann to send the Italians into the final.

France, at odds of 5/4 eased themselves into the final after beating a disappointing Portugal side 1-0. Zinedine Zidane struck a decisive penalty after 33 minutes after Thierry Henry was tripped inside the box by Ricardo Carvalho.

Third / Fourth Place Play Off

Germany finished the tournament in third place, comfortably beating Portugal 3-1 and ensuring they were one of the safest bets of the tournament at odds of 3/4. After a goalless first half Bastian Schweinsteiger stuck a long range effort after 55 minutes and Armando Petit deflected in another Schweinsteiger effort from distance, this time a low free kick. The Bayern Munich midfielder fired in another long range goal 13 minutes from time to seal victory for the hosts but Oliver Kahn, winning his eighty sixth and final Germany cap, was denied a clean sheet as Nuno Gomes headed in a consolation two minutes from time.

Final

Italy were crowned World Champions after a faultless penalty shoot out display but the match will be best remembered for Zinedine Zidane getting himself sent off in his last appearance for France. Zidane put France ahead after seven minutes from the penalty spot and became only the fourth player to score three goals in World Cup final matches, joining Geoff Hurst of England and both Vava and Pele of Brazil in this exclusive club. His goal also ended Italy's clean sheet streak of four matches, one short of the World Cup best set by the Italian side of 1990. France struggled to cope with Italy’s set pieces and Marco Materazzi headed in from Andrea Pirlo’s corner to draw level after 19 minutes.

With the match level at 1-1 after 90 minutes at even skinner draw odds of 9/5 how ironic that the two goalscorers would be embroiled in controversy with the match heading for a penalty shoot out. After 109 minutes, Zidane was sent off for head butting Materazzi after the former Everton defender seemingly said something to offend the veteran Frenchman.

No further goals were scored and five weeks of action would be determined on penalties, but it was the Italians who would vanquish the demons of 1994 and emerge victorious. Andrea Pirlo scored for Italy and Sylvain Wiltord drew the French level. Marco Materazzi scored but substitute David Trezeguet cannoned his effort off the crossbar. Daniele De Rossi put Italy 3-1 ahead but Eric Abidal scored to make it 3-2. Alesanndro Del Piero scored and so did Willy Sagnol. With the score at 4-3 in Italy’s favour, Fabio Grosso could win the Cup with a successful spot kick. He duly obliged and Italy won the match and indeed the World Cup, 5-3 on penalties.

 

World Cup 2006 Round Up - Quarter Finals

The World Cup is down to eight countries as we approach the business end of the tournament. This is what happened the four quarter finals and who will be squaring off against who in the semis.

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The World Cup is down to eight countries as we approach the business end of the tournament. This is what happened the four quarter finals and who will be squaring off against who in the semis.

In a match billed as the 1990 World Cup final replay, hosts Germany ousted second favourites Argentina on a penalty shoot-out. Roberto Ayala headed Argentina in front four minutes into the second half and Jose Pekerman’s side looked to have booked their place in the last four until leading goalscorer Miroslav Klose levelled 10 minutes from time. No more goals were scored and the impeccable Germans maintained their 100% penalty record in a major finals by defeating their opponents 4-2 from the spot. A large brawl broke out after the final spot kick and Pekermen resigned in the aftermath of defeat.

Italy vs Ukraine was expected to be a low scoring affair but the Italians stepped up a gear and swept the World Cup first timers aside 3-0. Italy were out of the blocks early and Zambrotta broke the deadlock after just six minutes. Luca Toni, tipped by many as a dark horse for the World Cup Golden Boot, finally scored his first of the tournament, heading in after 59 minutes and netted another 10 minutes later to set up a semi-final clash against Germany.

Arguably the biggest shock of the tournament was France against Brazil. The ageing French side who had surprisingly got this far after an unconvincing group stage performance were expected to lose against pre-tournament favourites Brazil. However, an inspired performance by veteran Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry’s goal after 57 minutes was enough to see France through to the final four. Before they met Spain in the second round, France were 20/1 outsiders but now see themselves as 2/1 second favourites behind hosts Germany.

Whereas France’s victory over Brazil was a shock, the most dramatic match of the quarter finals was unquestionably England vs Portugal. England had arguably better of the chances until the crucial turning point after XX minutes when Wayne Rooney was sent off. Rooney apparently stamped on Ricardo Carvalho and Manchester United team-mate Ronaldo gestured to have the striker sent off. Rooney pushed Ronaldo away and duly received his marching orders. Sven Goran Eriksson had no more ideas to call upon, despite banking £25 million during his five year tenure and with the score still 0-0 after 130 minutes, the match was to be decided by the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.

Simao scored but Frank Lampard’s was saved by goalkeeper Ricardo. Hugo Viana hit the post and the impressive Owen Hargreaves scored. Armando Petit struck his effort wide but with the chance to put England in front, Steven Gerrard saw his tame effort saved. Helder Postiga converted from the spot but Jamie Carragher saw a third penalty saved by Ricardo. Ironically, it was Ronaldo who netted the third crucial penalty to send Portugal into the semi final by a 3-1 scoreline.

 

World Cup Preview - Poland

Following a disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign in which coach Jerzy Engel talked up his side’s prospects only for them to be beaten 2-0 by South Korea and hammered 4-0 by Portugal, Poland will be keen to recreate their former World Cup glories.

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Outright Odds: 125/1
Group A Winners: 4/1

Following a disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign in which coach Jerzy Engel talked up his side’s prospects only for them to be beaten 2-0 by South Korea and hammered 4-0 by Portugal, Poland will be keen to recreate their former World Cup glories.

Under coach Pawel Janas, Poland made short work of their qualifying group, enjoying home and away victories against Austria, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland and Wales. Two narrow 2-1 defeats to England prevented a clean sweep but eight wins out of 10 matches was more than enough to cement their place in the finals.

In qualifying they proved their ability to beat average teams convincingly and they will need to repeat this on the grand stage if they are to repeat their glorious campaigns of 1974 and 1982 in which they finished third. However, they also need to prove they have what it takes to beat the stronger sides as they did in 1974, when Argentina, Italy, Sweden and Yugoslavia were dispatched before beating Brazil to claim third place.

They certainly have the firepower to do so and Poland’s main strength lies in attack. During qualifying they cracked in 27 goals, notably the 8-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan and scored at least once in all 10 of their qualifying matches. More importantly, they scored 10 more than group winners England managed for all their multi-million pound’s worth of strikers and only three sides scored more goals than the Poles during the European qualifying campaign.

Elche striker Tomasz Frankowski, nicknamed “The Goals Hunter” and Celtic forward Maciej Zurawski fired in 14 goals between them during qualifying while Southampton’s Grzegorz Rasiak is also in contention.

Poland are also a side that is not short of experience. The expected starting line-up has an average age of over 30 while Jacek Krzynowek, Jamil Kosowski and Radolsaw Kaluzny have all played in the German Bundesliga. Four years ago the team struggled to cope with the climate in Korea and Japan but will have no such issues this time when making the short trip over the border into Germany.

Their only real weakness is at the back where they have developed a habit of conceding soft goals which will not go unpunished when they face a team in clinical mood.

Recommended Bet:
Poland have received a favourable draw in which they should arguably beat both Ecuador and Costa Rica with the local “derby” fixture against Germany sandwiched in between. The dismal failure of four years ago means the Poles cannot be backed confidently to win Group A, although they are strong enough to qualify from it.

Poland to qualify from Group A @ 8/15
Poland to beat Costa Rica @ 4/5




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