28 days to go: Marching orders

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is drawing ever nearer – with just 28 days to go! Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.

28 – Believe it or not, 28 red cards were shown at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, more than at any other edition of the tournament.

One image that lives long in the memory of fans whenever the 2006 World Cup is mentioned is Zinedine Zidane’s moment of madness at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, when the France playmaker headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi.

After delivering a series of dazzling performances during the tournament, the experienced Real Madrid midfielder was hoping to crown his 18-year professional career with a second World Cup title. Everything was going to plan for Les Bleus’ captain after he beat Gianluigi Buffon with a cheeky chipped penalty early in the match.

However, the chapter written in football’s history books that night was very different from the one Zidane had imagined. Instead of hoisting the World Cup Trophy aloft, the last thing the French magician saw on the Berlin turf that evening was a red card waved by Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo. Germany 2006 was also the last major tournament for Elizondo himself, who made history of his own by becoming the first match official to referee both the Opening Match and the Final.