With the commencement of European Zone qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, the preliminary stage of the world's showpiece event is fast moving into its most exciting phase.  As Europe's giants join the fray, all continental zones are now in full swing. To get closer to the colourful international extravaganza that is FIFA World Cup qualifying, FIFAworldcup.com will be the place to be from now until the Final in Berlin on 9 July 2006.

Produced by FIFA and Yahoo!, the official website of the 18th FIFA World Cup takes football fans right inside selected clashes from around the globe -- with a LIVE MatchCast, in-depth coverage of all the stories surrounding the teams, the latest photos, tactical analysis, statistics and much more.

As well as providing users with a LIVE Scoreboard that records real-time events for each of the 700+ FIFA World Cup qualifiers around the world, FIFAworldcup.com offers a 'Matchcast Lite' including live scores and statistics, incidents, polls, trivia and expert editorial commentary in four languages (English, Spanish, French and German), all available on your computer as they happen.

The first two crunch matches being "matchcasted" are Austria v. England (4 September in Vienna) and Netherlands v. Czech Republic (8 September in Amsterdam). 

For the first time in the Internet's young history, the global football community can enjoy one site to follow the best of the qualifying matches together. In addition to the most extensive FIFA World Cup Qualifiers coverage available on the web, the site boasts an unparalleled wealth of other content:

Sponsored by Continental, the "Destination Germany" section includes in-depth information about the 12 Host Cities, while the work of the German Local Organising Committee can be followed in the Organisation section.  Exclusive classic video footage from past FIFA World Cups and the biggest matches results database available on the Web form the core of the "Classic Football" section.

"Launched in December 2003 for the Preliminary Draw in Frankfurt, the FIFAworldcup.com's coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup has already been recognised by supporters the world over as their favourite outlet, with a total of more than 115 million page views," concludes Dr Urs Linsi, FIFA General Secretary.