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A record 15 Chelsea players featured at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the equal highest of any club anywhere. They represented 10 different nations.
It was the first global showpiece since Roman Abramovich had bought the club, and for the first time ever it felt as though we were sending a collection of global superstars to the greatest show on earth. Over the course of the four weeks, club friendships had to be put on hold as many of our players contributed to their Chelsea team-mates' downfalls.
The star-studded Chelsea group in Germany included, just like in 1998, a pair of big-name signings made before the tournament began: Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko.
Ballack captained Germany, for whom Robert Huth made one appearance, to the semi-finals, where they dramatically lost to Italy in extra-time. Indeed, the Italians proved the bane of a number of Chelsea players that year. They crushed Shevchenko's Ukraine 3-0 in the quarters - but not before the striker had netted twice for his nation in group stage wins against Saudi Arabia and Tunisia - and they also did for Claude Makelele and William Gallas, as France were beaten on penalties in the final. That duo did not miss a minute of action in the whole tournament.
In the semi-finals Italy knocked Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho's Portugal out, who had in turn got the better of England, on penalties, in the last eight. The goalless draw in Gelsenkirchen is perhaps most memorable for Wayne Rooney's stamp on Carvalho as our centre-back lay prone on the turf. Frank Lampard missed England's first penalty in the shoot-out.
John Terry was the only England player voted into the tournament's all-star team, while Joe Cole scored the pick of a pretty miserly Three Lions' bunch, spectacularly volleying home against Sweden in the group stages (below).
Arjen Robben, who scored a group stage winner for the Netherlands against Serbia and Montenegro, also exited at the hands of the Portuguese, in the Round of 16. In a bad tempered game Maniche, who had spent the second half of the 2005/06 season on loan at Stamford Bridge, scored the only goal. His well-taken strike was netted amid of flurry of 16 yellow cards and four red cards, with future Blues Deco and Khalid Boulahrouz among those sent off.
Argentina, for whom Hernan Crespo scored three goals including against Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast, lost on penalties to the typically ruthless Germans in the quarter-finals. The striker had been substituted by the time the shoot-out, in which Ballack scored, came around.
Drogba and Petr Cech were the only Chelsea players on show not to make it out of the group stage. The Ivory Coast were drawn in a tough group that included Argentina and Holland. They narrowly lost to both sides 2-1 and certainly had enough opportunities to have got something from those games. Drogba scored against Argentina with a tidy close-range finish, but bookings in both losses ruled him out of the Ivorians' final group game, a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Serbia and Montenegro in the Allianz Arena, where the winning goal was struck by Bonaventure Kalou, brother of Salomon.
Meanwhile Cech and the Czechs began well, cruising past the USA 3-0, but they lost to Ghana 2-0 in what proved to be Group E's deciding game. Michael Essien was pivotal for the African debutants, but two group stage bookings meant he was forced to miss the Black Stars' last 16 loss to Brazil.
For the second time in eight years there were two Chelsea Frenchmen representing their nation in the World Cup final, but unlike Leboeuf and Desailly in Paris, Makelele and Gallas would not emerge triumphant.
There was another strong Chelsea presence eight years ago in South Africa, but unlike in France and Germany, memorable impacts were in short supply. In total 12 Blues were on show in the first African World Cup, and that number would have been greater were it not for injuries to Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, John Mikel Obi and Jose Bosingwa. Essien and Mikel would have been especially devastated to miss the global gathering on their home continent.
Injury also affected Didier Drogba's build-up to the tournament, but he was deemed fit enough to come on in the Ivory Coast's first game, a drab goalless draw with Portugal. The striker replaced Salomon Kalou, playing his first World Cup game, while Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho and Deco all started for the Portuguese.
It was they who pipped the Ivorians to second place, with the Elephants again unfortunate to be placed in another tough group. Against Brazil at Soccer City, in Johannesburg, they lost 3-1 but Drogba did head an impressive consolation. Kalou netted in the final Ivory Coast group game, a 3-0 win against North Korea.
Portugal's run ended in the last 16 against Spain, who would go on to lift the trophy for the first time. Carvalho played the full 90 minutes and impressed in a tight game decided by a solitary David Villa strike. Deco and Ferreira were unused substitutes.
Our English quartet of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole were the only other Blues to progress from the group stage. After tame draws with the USA and Algeria, the Three Lions saw off Slovenia 1-0, aided by an extraordinary defensive block from Terry, made with his head just a few inches off the ground. Nobody could doubt this man's commitment to the cause.
A late USA goal in the group's other game meant England finished second and would face old foes Germany in the last 16. In the most one-sided match between the two great rivals since England's 5-1 win in Munich nine years earlier, Germany's direct and fast counter-attacking style proved deadly. They won 4-1. However, with England's tails up having just got a goal back to make it 2-1 before half-time, Lampard struck what should have been one of the goals of the tournament, brilliantly volleying in off the underside of the bar. With the assistant referee well behind play it was not given, though (pictured top).
Had Lampard's stunning strike been rewarded, as it should have been, it may well have altered the outcome of the game. What it definitely did do was accelerate the introduction of goal-line technology, which was used at a World Cup for the first time this summer.
France continued their habit of alternating between the sublime and the ridiculous. Internal rife hampered their efforts in South Africa. First, our own Nicolas Anelka was expelled from the squad, before the remaining players refused to train in protest at the decision. Despite not winning either of their first two matches, they could still have qualified with a victory against hosts South Africa. Instead, they lost 2-1 - Florent Malouda scoring their only goal of the tournament, a late consolation - rounding off a disastrous few weeks all round.
The only Chelsea player in 2010 without a club team-mate in their respective nations' squad was Branislav Ivanovic. The defender played every minute of Serbia's three matches, which ranged from a fine 1-0 win over Germany, to damaging defeats at the hands of Ghana, and Australia. A late penalty, conceded to the West Africans in their opening game, was to prove costly.
Though there was little contemporary Chelsea success to shout about, eventual winners Spain included future Blues Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas, who beat a Dutch side containing Arjen Robben in the final.
Twenty years ago this week, this year’s World Cup finalists France won the World Cup for the first time. Two Chelsea players were prominent in that triumph, Frank Leboeuf, who came into the side against Brazil for the suspended Laurent Blanc, and Marcel Desailly. Two more of Les Bleus, Didier Deschamps and Emmanuel Petit, would later move to Stamford Bridge too.