Excitement mounted ahead of the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 when the draw was made in Utrecht. The draw provided some potential thrillers, not least intriguing clashes such as Argentina v Germany and Brazil v Nigeria.
FIFA announced that the maiden edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup would be held in Rio de Janeiro in early May. Copacabana Beach was confirmed as the venue to host 12 teams from six continents.
Crowd disturbances at recent FIFA World Cup™ qualifying matches forced FIFA to announce sanctions against Albania and Costa Rica. Albania were ordered to play their next two home qualifiers behind closed doors after various objects were thrown onto the pitch during their match with Ukraine. Costa Rica were given a one-match punishment after similar incidents in their game against Mexico.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter also expressed his demand that referees should be afforded more respect for their authority. He reaffirmed his wholehearted support for match officials when Swedish referee Anders Frisk decided to retire after receiving threats.
In a busy month of commercial activity, FIFA announced the signing of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group as Official Automotive Partner from 2007 to 2014.
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
Brazil held on to the top spot with a healthy advantage of more than 50 points over their nearest challengers. Further down the pecking order, Costa Rica were unbeaten en route to winning the UNCAF Nations Cup (the Central American championship) for the fifth time and moved up 6 to 21st. Jamaica (41st, up 5), Honduras (50th, up 8), Cuba (60th, up 11) and Guatemala (62nd, up 8) also made significant progress. Panama recorded their best-ever position (97th, up 4), as did Uzbekistan (46th, up 2) and Finland (36th, up 2) after a triumphant tour of Asia.
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany
Argentina stayed top of the ten-team South American group after claiming their first win in the Bolivian altitude for 32 years (2-1). Brazil remained the closest challengers with a 1-0 win over Peru. The big clash in CONCACAF was Mexico's 2-1 defeat of USA, sending them top of the qualifying group and relegating the Americans to third. Europe saw some heavy scoring, notably in Group 6 where Poland beat Azerbaijan 8-0 and England defeated Northern Ireland 4-0. Africa also proved a fertile breeding ground for goals as Tunisia crushed Malawi 7-0 and Senegal overpowered Liberia in a 6-1 win. Iran's 2-1 victory over Japan in the Asian Zone was marred by the deaths of several supporters as they tried to leave the stadium in Tehran.
6 March - FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 draw in Utrecht
10 March - Host venues named for FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005
14 March - Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta announces his retirement from the game
15 March - FIFA agrees to review the current methods used to calculate the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings
18 March - Committee for Women's Football proposes the first ever coordinated women's international match calendar for the 2006-2008 period
31 March - First sales phase of 2006 FIFA World Cup™ match tickets ends after two months: A million applicants requested more than ten million tickets