Germany 2006 will no doubt be remembered as the fans? FIFA World Cup. With millions of people attending public screenings of the event, the atmosphere in the host country was incredible, as people from all over the world took the official motto: "A time to make friends? to heart.
On the pitch, 32 teams battled it out for football?s ultimate prize. Some bowed out after just three games, while France fell at the final hurdle as Italy claimed the crown of "world champions?, a description that will be used against their name for the next four years.
The Azzurri won the FIFA World Cup for the fourth time after holding their nerves in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. For their performances in the group stages, Round of 16, quarter-finals and semis, football fans all over the world would agree that Marcello Lippi's side were worthy winners of the competition.
Inspired by Zinedine Zidane, until his dramatic sending off in the Final, Les Bleus surprised everyone to reach the showdown in Berlin on 9 July. Although they looked shaky in the group stages, it was in the knockout stages when they really came into their own, defeating Spain, Brazil and Portugal with relative ease.
The highest scorers at the tournament captured the imagination of the public with a combination of fine football and a never-say-die attitude.
Luis Felipe Scolari?s outfit were arguably the surprise package of Germany 2006, overcoming Mexico, the Netherlands and England en route to the semi-finals.
After some great performances in the group stages and a victory over Mexico in the Round of 16, the Albiceleste were unlucky to lose to the hosts in a dramatic shoot-out.
The world champions? attempt to secure their sixth FIFA World Cup success ended after a lacklustre showing against France. A tournament to forget for the Selecao.
Unlucky with injuries, unlucky from the spot. Once again, penalties proved to be the undoing of England, who failed to live up to their high expectations at this event.
Coached by Oleg Blokhin, the FIFA World Cup first-timers did extremely well in reaching the last eight, but found Italy too tough an opponent in Hamburg.
Round of 16:
Not expected to get past a group which included Brazil, Croatia and Japan, Dutch coach Guus Hiddink masterminded a magnificent showing by the Socceroos.
Before the tournament began, it was claimed that the South Americans could not play well away from their home country. La Tricolor proved their doubters wrong.
As the only side from the continent to qualify for the Round of 16, Ghana were rightly described as the "Pride of Africa.? Victories over the USA and the Czech Republic cemented this claim.
El Tri will be disappointed with their exit in the Round of 16, but the match against Argentina which saw them lose 2-1, will surely be remembered as one of the tournament?s best.
After qualifying from what was thought to be the tournament?s toughest group, Marco van Basten?s men came up short against a well-organised Portugal side.
Tipped by many to go far in the competition after disposing of Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia with relative ease at the group stages, Spain fell at the very next hurdle.
Conceding two early goals in the first 12 minutes to Germany effectively ended the Swede?s hopes of progressing into the quarter-finals.
The winners of Group G failed to convert any of their three penalties against Ukraine to see them exit the competition with an unwanted new FIFA World Cup record.
While not altogether unexpected, Angola's first-round elimination was down to a combination of inexperience and tactical limitations.
Costa Rica were hoping for big things in Germany, but the team which was considered to be one of the best in the country?s history, failed to get past the group stage.
The Elephants came with a lot of promise and although they fell at the first hurdle, they won many friends and admirers in their all-too-brief visit to Germany.
Soaring expectations back home thought that a clash with Italy in the Round of 16 was the team?s destiny. However, failure to take chances put paid to Croatia?s hopes.
They entered the FIFA World Cup as one of the highest ranked teams and got off to an impressive start. But the journey home came all too soon for the Czech Republic.
Defeats to Mexico and Portugal in their opening games left Iran with no chance of advancing. The subsequent point claimed against Angola was no consolation at all.
Two goals and a solitary point were all Japan had to show for their efforts at Germany 2006, the tournament which brought to an end Zico?s reign as coach.
Victory against Togo gave the Taeguk Warriors their first FIFA World Cup success on European soil, but it was not enough to book the team a place in the Round of 16.
Paraguay returned home having picked up just three points from their three Group B encounters. Their hopes were ended by narrow defeats in their opening two matches.
Poland and their fans are unlikely to harbour fond memories of Germany 2006, but a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in their final match did provide some consolation.
Saudi Arabia for their fourth consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals, and once again Sami Al Jaber weighed in with a goal.
Serbia and Montenegro
The team that only conceded one goal in qualifying, to finish ahead of Spain, somehow ended up on the receiving end of ten in as many days in Germany.
Having suffered three defeats in as many games, Togo bade farewell to Germany as the bottom team in Group G, with off-field issues contributing to their downfall.
Trinidad and Tobago
Showing great determination and resolve to make up for their inexperience and lack of resources, T&T will look back on their two weeks in Germany as a success.
Tunisia made history by becoming the first African side to record a win at Argentina 1978. Twenty-eight years on and three campaigns later they have yet to repeat the feat.
For a team that earned only a single point, thanks to a 1-1 draw with Italy, there is no shortage of things that could have gone better for this US squad.