If World War II Never Happened: A FIFA World Cup Timeline

Glad to see Portugal getting that medal on home soil

Def curious to see how 2006 shakes out; that was the first World Cup I ever watched any of when I was a teenager and it'll be interesting to see if Germany hosts or it goes somewhere else, like England
Prelude to the 2006 FIFA World Cup
Part 83 - Our Sacred Host
Prelude to the 2006 FIFA World Cup

The Soviet Union was awarded hosting rights for the 2006 FIFA World Cup over South Africa, England and Morocco in July 2000. The tournament was played from June 9 to July 9, with the previous format maintained.

Vardar Macedonia failed to even reach the playoffs despite sensationally beating the Netherlands home and away. Lithuania unexpectedly topped a group ahead of Romania and Spain, the latter of the three becoming a notable absentee [1]. Romania went on and narrowly lost a two-legged playoff versus Switzerland, who made a long overdue World Cup return. The other playoffs were won by Denmark (against Slovakia) and England (against Slovenia).

Australia entered the Asian qualifiers for the first time in history, qualifying directly with relative ease, albeit behind Japan. After edging out neighbors Iraq in the Asian playoff, Iran defeated Trinidad and Tobago in an equally tense inter-confederation playoff [2].

Uruguay demolished the Solomon Islands 11-1 to qualify as the last South American team.
This World Cup saw many African debutants: Angola, Togo and Tunisia.

I'm curious to hear your group stage predictions:
2006 groups a-d.png

2006 groups e-h.png

[1] Spain aren’t weaker ITTL. They’ve just been unlucky being drawn into groups with teams who are stronger than OTL.

[2] I feel a bit bad for taking this historic tournament away from Trinidad and Tobago, but there’s no law of nature that they would have qualified.
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GRP A: USSR, Germany, Ecuador, Costa Rica
GRP B: England, Sweden, Paraguay, Japan
GRP C: Argentina, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Lithuania (Poor Lithuania)
GRP D: Portugal, Mexico, Iran, Angola
GRP E: Brazil, Bohemia, Ghana, USA
GRP F: Italy, Uruguay, Australia, Croatia (We were very unlucky but also just not that good in that WC. Former coach Ivica Osim famously said about our team that "If one cannot run, then he shouldn't even play")
Group G: Korea, Switzerland, Serbia, Togo
GRP H: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia
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Group A: Soviet Union and Germany
Group B: England and Sweden
Group C: Argentina and Netherlands
Group D: Portugal and Mexico
Group E: Brazil and Ghana
Group F: Italy and Australia
Group G: Korea and Switzerland
Group H: France and Denmark
Oooh a Soviet host…

Def agree shame on T&T here.

Group A: USSR, Germany
B: England, Sweden
C: Netherlands, Arg
D: Portugal, Mexico
E: Brazi, Bohemia
F: Italy, Australia
G: Korea, Serbia
H: France, Denmark

The bottom half of that knockout bracket is stacked, whereas the hosts have a pretty easy path to at least the semis considering Brazil is usually not as good in European WCs
A: USSR, Germany, Costa Rica, Equador
B: England, Sweden, Paraguay, Japan
C: Netherlands, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Lithuania
D: Portugal, Mexico, Iran, Angola
E: Brazil, USA, Bohemia, Ghana
F: Italy, Uruguay, Croatia, Australia
G: Korea, Serbia, Switzerland, Togo
H: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia
A: Germany, Soviet Union
B: England, Sweden
C: Netherlands, Argentina
D: Portugal, Mexico
E: Brazil, Ghana
F: Italy, Croatia
G: Korea, Serbia
H: France, Denmark
2006 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage
Part 84 - So Far, Soviet
2006 FIFA World Cup - Group Stage

At long last, the powerhouse Soviet Union staged a major tournament. Anything except a repeat of their 1998 title would be deemed a major failure. Things started expectedly, with the hosts beating Costa Rica 3-1. Germany were later edged out by a single Andriy Shevchenko goal, while Ecuador were brushed aside 3-0. So far, so good for the Soviets. Germany advanced in second by beating Ecuador 2-0 and Costa Rica 3-2 in a flashy matchday three encounter. Ecuador's impressive 3-0 victory over Costa Rica was not enough.

2006 group a.png

Group A of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

England defeated Paraguay 1-0 before easing past Japan 2-0. Despite a dominant display by Sweden, they could only manage a 1-1 draw with the Japanese. Sweden showed more discipline in the second round, edging out Paraguay with a single late goal. An even later equalizer in the 2-2 draw with England ensured the two European sides advanced, as Paraguay's 2-1 triumph over Japan only yielded three points.

2006 group b.png

Group B of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Debutants Lithuania started their campaign with a respectable 1-1 draw versus a quite dominant Dutch team. However, things came crumbling down when Argentina emphatically demolished Lithuania 6-0. The Argentines previously won 2-1 over the Ivory Coast - a scoreline replicated by the Dutch. In the final round, Argentina and the Netherlands featured in a mutually beneficial goalless draw, while Lithuania recorded a historic win over the Ivorians. Bizarelly, despite playing quite well, the Ivory Coast lost all matches 2-1.

2006 group c.png

Group C of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Portugal swept the group, though narrowly: 1-0 against their former colony Angola, and 2-1 versus Iran and Mexico. Angola were solid defensively but lacked goalscoring prowess, as they drew 0-0 with Mexico and lost 2-1 against Iran. However, it was Mexico who advanced thanks to their opening 3-2 victory over Iran.

2006 group d.png

Group D of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Brazil brushed aside debutants Ghana 3-0 in the opener, while Bohemia replicated that scoreline versus the United States. But the group took a twist on matchday two when Ghana sensationally defeated Bohemia 2-0. Brazil's 2-0 victory over the Americans was not nearly as shocking. Bohemia's flop was cemented when Brazil defeated them 3-1 in the final round. Meanwhile, Ghana edged out the U.S. by two goals to one.

2006 group e.png

Group E of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Group F could very claim the title of 'group of death'. In the opening game, Australia surprisingly defeated Uruguay 2-1. Title holders Italy edged out Croatia by the same margin. Each respective echelon of the group then drew with each other. Uruguay and Croatia failed to produce any goals, whereas Italy and Australia managed one each. Uruguay were brushed aside 2-0 by Italy with unexpected ease, while Australia held Croatia to a 2-2 draw despite a Croat player being shown three (!) yellow cards before being sent off.

2006 group f.png

Group F of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Despite sensationally scoring the opener versus Korea, debutants Togo lost 3-1. The other matches also ended in failure. Switzerland found two goals against them. Serbia also won 3-1. Switzerland's goalless draw with Serbia didn't show any promises of success, but a 2-1 upset win over the Koreans ensured the Swiss topped Group G. Korea's 2-1 victory against Serbia was enough for advancement.

2006 group g.png

Group G of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Group H was extremely top heavy - and swept by France who edged out Denmark 1-0 and Tunisia 2-1 before brushing aside Saudi Arabia 2-0. Denmark bounced back after their opening loss by hammering the Saudis 4-0. A single goal against Tunisia ensured the Danes returned to the knockout stage a seventh consecutive World Cup [1]. The only minor cause for celebration for the Saudis and Tunisians was their entertaining 2-2 stalemate.

2006 group h.png

Group H of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

I'd love to know your round of 16 predictions:
2006 knockout 1.png

[1] Didn't even realize Denmark were on such an impressive streak ITTL. Interesting.

Thanks to @jycee and @Mildtryth for helping me figure out the venues (and credit to the latter of the two for getting the most group stage predictions right).
Sweden upsets USSR (have to)
Argentina over Mex
Brazil over Australia
Denmark over Switzerland
England over Germany (no home soil advantage for what was then a mediocre German group)
Netherlands over Portugal
Italy over Ghana
Korea over France
Soviet Union x Sweden
Argentina x Mexico
Brazil x Australia
Switzerland x Denmark
England x Germany
Portugal x Netherlands
Italy x Ghana
France x Korea
USSR - Sweden
Argentina- Mex
Brazil - Australia
Switzerland- Denmark
England - Germany
Portugal - Netherlands
Italy over Ghana
Korea over France
Soviet Union x Sweden
Argentina x Mexico
Brazil x Australia
Switzerland x Denmark
England x Germany
Portugal x Netherlands
x Ghana
France x Korea
2006 FIFA World Cup - Round of 16
Part 85 - Choose Your Battles
2006 FIFA World Cup - Round of 16

The Soviet Union kept up their group stage pace in the first knockout match, brushing aside Sweden with two early goals.

The second game was more dramatic, but also saw two goals mere minutes in. Mexico netted first, Argentina equalized. The next goal didn't come until extra time - a tremendous volley by Maxi Rodriguez that ensured his Argentina advanced.

The early scoring persisted with Germany netting twice versus England within the opening 15 minutes. However, within 15 minutes of the second half, England also netted twice - through a penalty and Beckham free-kick - to level the game. A stalemate ensued and lasted through extra time. Just like in 1978, Germany were victorious in the shootout.

The 'battle of Odesa' was not a bloody World War II fight, but a football game. Four red cards, 16 yellow, one goal. Scored by Portugal, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 40 years.

Australia acquired a sensational lead versus Brazil right on the stroke of half-time, but the South Americans levelled the scoring shortly into the second, adding the winner in the 90th minute.

In what was widely labeled the worst game of the tournament, Switzerland and Denmark drew 0-0 with each other. Hardly any chances of note. The Danes proved vastly superior in the shootout, largely due to Thomas Sørensen's heroics.

Italy scored once in each half to brush aside Ghana 2-0, who could still be proud of their tournament.

In the final last 16 tie, France opened the score in the ninth minute. Coincidentally, nine minutes into the second half was when Korea equalized, and nine minutes before the amount of added time was revealed, the Asian powerhouse went in front.

Tell me how you think the rest of the tournament plays out:
2006 knockout 2.png

Credit to @TimTurner and @jycee for getting the most round of 16 predictions right.
USSR tops Arg
Brazil over Denmark
Germany over Portugal (head vs heart here)
Italy over Korea (head vs heart again)

USSR beats Brazil
Italy over Germany

Germany wins 3rd

USSR denies Italy a consecutive title, and wins on home soil

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor

The 'battle of Odesa' was not a bloody World War II fight, but a football game. Four red cards, 16 yellow, one goal. Scored by Portugal, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 40 years.
Ah yes, OTL Portuguese against the Dutch survives. One of the most enjoyable football matches I have had the pleasure to watch. Not, of course, involving your own team - these are much more fun when you are a neutral!
USSR Argentina
Brazil Denmark
Portugal Germany
Italy Korea

USSR Brazil
Italy Portugal

USSR Italy
Brazil Portugal