July 9, 2006, a date engraved in the hearts of all Italians. In fact, fourteen years ago, Italy becomes World Champion for the fourth time. Looking at those pictures still makes our heart beat faster. So, let’s retrace the ride of our Azzurri to the historic triumph of Berlin.
Calciopoli and a sky not so blue
The adventure of the Italian national team in Germany in 2006 begins under a bad star. In fact we are in the midst of Calciopoli. Some of the Azzurri who left for the tournament are also involved. There is talk about the coach, Marcello Lippi. It’s about his son Alessandro who is also among the people investigated. But Marcello Lippi is good at protecting the team. He manages to isolate the team by giving his boys internal goals. But at the same time Lippi anticipates his idea of leaving the national team after the World Cup. So despite a two-year contract, Lippi is ready to leave the team at the end of the world championship.
Group stage of the 2006 World Cup
Immediately, in the first game, Italy made its debut in its group with a 2-0 victory over Ghana. Andrea Pirlo and Vincenzo Iaquinta scored. The second match is against the United States. Even if the game on paper was within our reach, we suffered on the pitch. There was a lot of talk about a young Daniele De Rossi who was expelled for an nudge. In fact, for that gesture, son of his inexperience, he received a five-match ban. At the same time, Alessandro Nesta was injured and forced to give way to Marco Materazzi, who remained on the pitch for the rest of the tournament.
Of the match against the USA we remember Alberto Gilardino’s 1 to 0. But we also remember Cristian Zaccardo’s own goal. Zaccardo’s is the only goal that Gigi Buffon suffered on action. So the game ended 1 to 1 and the shift was only postponed. The last game of the group saw the Azzurri win against the Czech Republic. Materazzi and Inzaghi’s goals avoid the bogeyman Brazil.
Dreaming about July 9: the race to the final
In the round of 16 we met Australia, another game fought. A 0 to 0 that until a few seconds from the ninetieth worried our fate. In the final Fabio Grosso got a generous penalty and Francesco Totti closed the game with a victory of measure. In the quarterfinals there was Ukraine with Shevchenko, which we easily overcame by 3 to 0. A brace by Luca Toni and goals by Zambrotta made us pass the round. In the semifinal we met the hosts, Germany. Although for the Germans we were a black beast, the game ended 0 to 0. We only managed to win in overtime. It was particularly nice to see Fabio Grosso scoring and running away, screaming like Tardelli in 1982. Finally, Alessandro Del Piero face to face with the German goalkeeper scored the goal of 2 to 0 and we went to Berlin.
July 9, 2006: sky is blue above Berlin!
The final took place in Berlin on July, 9 2006. France: an old acquaintance against Italy. On the other hand, the Blues beaten us at the World Cup in ’98 and in the final at Euro 2000. The final also started badly for the Azzurri. Zinedine Zidane scored a penalty in the first half. While it is Marco Materazzi, in the second half to balance the accounts with a header. It was a game where Italy has to suffer a lot. But surprisingly, in overtime, Zidane, teased by Materazzi, and was expelled. So the famous head to the defender Azzurro and the expulsion ended the career of the French champion. But the 2006 World Cup was decided on penalties.
The only one to fail was David Trezeguet from Juventus. While Fabio Grosso’s goal turns the sky above Berlin blue. The 2006 final is also Fabio Cannavaro‘s game. Captain Azzurro, who is also in the hundredth presence with the national team, raises the World Cup to heaven. For Italy it is the fourth title after those of 1934, 1938 and 1982.