The 2002 World Cup was the first to be held in Asia, and was hosted jointly by South Korea and Japan. Togolese Souleymane Mamam became the youngest player ever to take to a World Cup preliminary game field at 13 years, 310 days in Lomé in May 2001. Australia defeated American Samoa 31–0 in a preliminary match – a new record for the margin of victory, and the highest-scoring match ever. The tournament was a successful one for teams traditionally regarded as minnows, with South Korea, Senegal and the United States all reaching the last eight. Brazil beat Germany 2–0 in the final for their fifth title. The Turkish Hakan Sukur made history by scoring the earliest World Cup goal of all time against South Korea at only 11 seconds.
The 2006 World Cup was held in Germany. It was the first World Cup for which the previous winner had to qualify; the host nation(s) continue to receive an automatic berth. Four African teams also made their debut in the world cup finals: Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola and Ghana who impressively made it to last 16 by beating the Czech Republic, third ranked in the world, 2–1, along with the United States 2–0, before losing to the defending champions Brazil 0–3.
First seed and holders Brazil and second seeded England were initially English bookmakers’ favourites. A strong performance by Germany brought them as far as the semi-finals. However, the final match-up was between Italy and France, in which French captain Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the last ten minutes of extra time for a headbutt to the chest of Italian central defender Marco Materazzi. Italy went on to win 5–3 in a penalty shootout, the score having been 1–1 after 90 minutes and extra time.