The Soccer World Cup 2006 in Germany

The F�©d�©ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup is by far the most important competition in international soccer. Held every four years since 1930 (with an eight year pause during World War II), this tournament is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world. It is even more popular than the Olympic Games themselves.

The host country for this year’s World Cup festivities will be Germany. The matches will be held in 12 major cities all across the country, among them being Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremburg and Stuttgart.

The tournament involves 32 national teams competing over a 4-week period and will begin in Munich on July 9th. The final draw dividing up the 32 teams into 8 groups (A through H) of 4 took place in Leipzig on December 9th, 2005. And although the World Cup finals may be held every four years, the actual competition takes place over the three-year period prior to this. In this year’s finals, teams representing over 200 countries had already competed in their regional qualifying rounds to have reached this very prestigious position and have a chance at making soccer history.

And these teams deserve to be here. Here are just a few of particular interest:

Germany. The Germans already enjoy three world titles to their name, but are clearly hungry for the next. One of the top soccer nations of the world, Germany has been in every World Cup tournament other than 1930 and 1950. And this year’s team seems particularly hungry for victory.

France. France is of course one of the founder members of FIFA and has taken part in a grand total of 11 World Cup tournaments. But Les Bleus stunning World Cup victory of 1998 is still the event on everybody’s mind. A few of their most notable stars will be missing, but they are still a formidable force to be reckoned with.

England. England is of course the “first nation” of football and the English are well known for their passionate playing and tenacity. Will this finally be the year for them to match their great success of 1966 with another tournament triumph?

Argentina. Argentina is a perennial favourite and a team that invariably figures among the most unpredictable of competitors. They failed to ignite during the finals of 2002 but, on the other hand, were the first South American team to qualify for Germany 2006.

Brazil. Brazil has qualified for every single World Cup tournament ever held and has won an unprecedented five times. The Brazilian team won the Confederations Cup last year and the Copa American the year before that and to say that they are a team to contend with (which I do) is, well, a bit of an understatement.

Italy. One of the greatest of soccer nations, Italy holds three World Cups they can call their own. After less than impressive performances in recent years, many insiders now believe that the Italians will be one of the top favourites in the months to come.

USA. Good consistent play and a fine selection of talented players have given the US a very good chance to fare well during our fifth consecutive appearance at the World Cup.

And Germany will be the ideal locale for the World Cup 2006. Germans adore soccer, whether as player or fan. The German Football Association (DFB) boasts more than 6 million members and 27,000 clubs! And the Germans penchant for solid organization will certainly come in handy here. The guest cities are all rightly proud of their impressive public transport systems, the venues and abundant hotel accommodations are well-connected and German hospitality is guaranteed.

So what are your plans this summer? You’ve already made some, you say? Well have a closer look at the sites listed below and you may just change your mind.

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