Germany 2006: The award winners
At the FIFA World Cup, the greatest, most-coveted prize is, was and always shall be the Trophy itself. However, every edition of the game's global showpiece has its heroes in the shape of players and teams whose contributions cry out for some sort of recognition.
After all, some of the most indelible images in the tournament's history have been provided by the likes of Eusebio, Johan Cruyff and 'Toto' Schillaci, none of whom were ever able to lay their hands on a winner's medal, and many of the teams who thrilled us over the years won little other than the football public's affection.
This was also true at Germany 2006. The array of awards reflected that it was players such as Lukas Podolski and Zinedine Zidane who captured the imagination and that, while Spain and Brazil left without the Trophy, they returned home with plenty of new friends.
AWARDS FROM THE 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP GERMANY
FIFA Fair Play award - BRAZIL & SPAIN
They might have seen their hopes of lifting the Trophy dashed at a premature stage, but Brazil and Spain did not return home empty-handed, with each of their players picking up medals for their record of sportsmanship and good conduct during Germany 2006. This particular award is decided using a points system established by the FIFA Committee for Ethics and Fair Play, and the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) named Carlos Alberto Parreira and Luis Aragones's sides as joint-winners after they picked up a shared total of 886 from the 1,000 available.
adidas Golden Ball - Zinedine ZIDANE (FRA)
Arguably the greatest trophy available to an individual footballer went to one of the game's most spectacular players of the past decade. Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo, Silver and Bronze Ball winners respectively, certainly ran him close, but despite that Final red card, Zidane undoubtedly provided some of Germany 2006's most memorable moments, and the accredited media at the FIFA World Cup Final recognised this in their voting.
adidas Golden Shoe Miroslav KLOSE (GER)
His winning tally might have been the lowest since Chile 1962, but Klose undoubtedly deserved this award having finished two clear of Hernan Crespo, Ronaldo and Thierry Henry with a tally of five goals that saw him move into third place in the list of top German goalscorers at FIFA World Cup finals.
Gillette Best Young Player Lukas PODOLSKI (GER)
Emerging at the head of a 40-strong field of candidates, Lukas Podolski was named the inaugural Gillette Best Young Player by FIFA's TSG after scoring three goals and contributing boundless energy to Germany's enthralling FIFA World Cup campaign. "This is a big motivation for myself to keep on improving in my career and to play a even better World Cup in four years' time," said the 21-year-old after collecting his award.
Lev Yashin Award Gianluigi BUFFON (ITA)
No surprises here. Gianluigi Buffon produced as close to a perfect tournament as can be humanly possible, conceding just twice during Italy's triumphant campaign, once from a Christian Zaccardo own goal and then from Zidane's audacious penalty in the Final. The FIFA TSG members were responsible for this decision, and so faultless was Buffon throughout the tournament that it cannot have taken them long to arrive at it.
The Most Entertaining Team presented by Yahoo! - PORTUGAL
The winners of this particular award were decided upon by FIFAworldcup.com's users, who declared that Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal had set their pulses racing more than any other team.
Mastercard All Star team Italians dominate
The quality of Italy's collective and individual performances were acknowledged in Mastercard's All Star team, with no less than seven of the Azzurri starting line-up included in a 23-man squad that also included four players each from France, Germany and Portugal.