February saw the cream of world football gather in Barcelona for the Ronaldinho XI v Shevchenko XI Tsunami Solidarity Match and the FIFA World Youth Championship line-up was completed at the South American qualifiers. Relive February 2005.

Pure football, pure hope was the message as a star-studded line-up gathered to take part in the Ronaldinho XI v Shevchenko XI Tsunami Solidarity Match in Barcelona. The night was both uplifting and moving as some of the world's greatest players came under the coaching guidance of Marcello Lippi, Arsene Wenger, Frank Rijkaard and Carlos Alberto Perreira at the Nou Camp stadium.

The scoreline mattered little, but the spectacle was worthy of the occasion as Ronaldinho's side beat Andriy Shevchenko's European stars 6-3. The following day, one of the goalscorers, Barcelona and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, was named African Footballer of the Year for the second successive year.

Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Chile completed the 24-team line-up for the World Youth Championship after qualifying at the South American Youth championships, where hosts Colombia took the title. 

In February, FIFA agreed to oversee the first official tests using technology to determine whether the ball has fully crossed the goal-line. The 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru was ear-marked for the experiment. The decision was reached by the International Football Association Board at its 119th Annual General Meeting in Cardiff, where the Board also clarified the current offside rule by further defining the meaning of being "actively involved in play".

Less than three months after winning the FIFA Futsal World Championship, Spain clinched the European Championship title to complete the double and FIFA continued its drive to develop football in all its forms by announcing that the first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will be held in Brazil later in the year. The hosts showed their determination to succeed by immediately calling up Romario.
The football associations of Brunei Darussalam, Denmark and New Zealand get the green light to receive their first Goal assistance projects, bringing the total number of FIFA members to benefit from the Goal Programme to 172. The number of projects that have been completed, have been approved or are in the planning stage now stands at 207.

FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
Greece secured their best-ever ranking by moving 5 up to 13th, while lower down the order, Belarus also earned the highest placing, up 4 to 64th. Canada (85th, up 5), Gabon (107th, up 5) and Chad (160th, up 8) all make significant progress.

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™
As the first tickets for the finals went on sale, Ukraine moved a step closer to Germany 2006 after winning 2-0 in Albania. Their closest rivals in Group 2, Denmark, went down 2-1 away to Greece in the pick of the European qualifiers. Both the United States and Mexico managed 2-1 wins in their matches in the six-team CONCACAF final qualifying round, against Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica respectively. Morocco kept up their unbeaten run as they crushed Kenya 5-1. In Asia, Korea Republic defeated the visiting Kuwait side 2-0 and Japan left it late to beat Korea DPR 2-1 in Tokyo.

Key Dates:

1 Feb - First FIFA World Cup 2006 tickets go on sale via the internet

1 Feb - Announcement of first annual FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to be staged in Brazil

12-16 Feb - First workshop of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ Referees' Project in Frankfurt

15 Feb - Ronaldinho XI v Shevchenko XI FIFA/UEFA Tsunami Solidarity Match in Barcelona

26 Feb - International Football Association Board (IFAB) 119th Annual General Meeting in Cardiff


  Three top stories:
  FIFA/UEFA tsunami match review
  South American Youth Championship review
  New laws of the game explained