The 2005 tournament brought a change in rules – from now on the team hosting the World Cup the year after the tournament would always host the tournament. This year that team was Germany. The tournament brought about the re-acquaintance of two of football’s largest rivals, in a final in which Brazil claimed their 2nd victory in the tournaments history.
Group A pitted together two of the tournaments strongest teams, and it was no surprise to see Germany and Argentina progressing comfortably. Argentina secured qualification by winning their first two games. In the tournament’s first match goals from Riquelme and Saviola were enough to sweep aside Tunisia, despite Guedmamdia’s late penalty. Qualification was sealed in an exciting game against Australia. After Figueoa had struck twice, and Riquelme had slotted home a penalty, Argentina looked to be cruising. Australia’s Aloisi had other ideas, though, and struck twice in 9 minutes to make for a nervy finish. It was only when Figueroa scored his hattrick goal in injury time that that the Argentinian fans could relax. It was déjà vu for Australia when pitted against Germany. The two sides traded goals in the first half, and by half time the score rested at 2-2, thanks to goals from Skoko and Aloisi for the Aussies, and Kuranyi and Mertesacker from Germany. A goal from Ballack on 60 minutes, coupled with Podolski’s late goal, seemed to have done enough to secure Germany’s first victory of the tournament. This ultimately proved to be the case, despite Aloisi making the score 4-3 in injury time. Germany’s game against Tunisia was a far more confortable affair; late goals from Ballack, Schwienstiger and Hanker were enough to send Germany through at the expense of their opponents. Germany and Argentina then met in the final group game, with Argentina needing to win to take top spot. The result was an exciting 2-2 draw, with Argentina twice falling behind, yet bouncing back on both occasions through Riquelme and Cambiasso respectively.
On to Group B, where there was a tight finish for a Semi Final spot. Mexico eased into the Semi Finals, kicking off their tournament with a 2-1 win over Japan, thanks to Fonseca’s winer, and following that up with a stunning win over Brazil, with Borgetti scoring the only goal of the game in the second half. Brazil themselves endured another stumbling start to the tournament, although they did beat Euro 2004 winners Greece comfortably, with goals from Adriano, Robinho and Juninho. When Japan also beat Greece, they met Brazil, knowing that only a win would see them through. Robinho and Ronaldinho put Brazil ahead at half time, with a Nakamura goal in between. Oguro seized a point for Japan with just two minutes remaining, but Brazil’s emphatic win over Greece meant they had a superior goal difference.
The Semi Finals entailed a repeat of the 2002 World Cup Final, with hosts Germany meeting Brazil in Nuremberg. It was a case of different tournament, same result. At half time the two sides were locked 2-2, before Adriano struck his second of the game with 15 minutes to go to break the host’s hearts. Playing Brazil in the final would be their arch-rivals Argentina, who progressed in the tightest game in the tournaments history. Salcido and Figuero had scored either side of half time in Extra Time, to send the game to penalties. Both sides kept control of their nerves in the shoot out, before Mexico’s Osorio missed a crucial penalty. That handed Estaban Cambiasso the chance to send Argentina through 6-5 on penalties, and it was a chance that he took. The final reunited South America’s bitterest of rivals. In what was anticipated to be a tight game, Brazil stunned their rivals by striking twice in 15 minutes, thanks to Adriano and Kaka. There was a repeat in the second half – Ronaldinho and Adriano made the game 4-0. Adriano’s goal– in spite of Aimar’s consolation goal – won the tournament for his country, as well as two personal accolades, the Golden Ball and Boot.
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