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.