Republic of Korea/Japan 2002

2010-05-06 10:02
Host Country: Republic of Korea and Japan
Champions: Brazil    
Runners Up: Germany

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th staging of the World Cup, held in the Republic of Korea and Japan from 31 May to 30 June. The two countries were chosen as hosts by FIFA in May 1996 and was the first tournament in its history to be hosted by two countries. It was also the first World Cup held in Asia. This World Cup was also the last wherein the Golden Goal rule was implemented. Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, beating Germany 2–0 in the final. Turkey had beaten Korea Republic 3–2 in the third place match.

The World Cup started with a shock 1–0 defeat of defending champions France, playing without the injured Zinedine Zidane, by tournament newcomers Senegal in the tournament's opening match held in Seoul, Korea. In their second Group A game, France were held to a goalless draw by Uruguay after star striker Thierry Henry was sent off. A 2–0 defeat by Denmark in their last group game sealed France's fate. The world champions went out of the Cup without even managing to score a goal and earned the unwanted record of the worst World Cup performance by a defending champion. An impressive Denmark won the group, joined by Senegal to move on to the next round. Senegal drew with Denmark and Uruguay to clinch its place in the second round. Despite coming back from 3–0 down to draw with Senegal in their last group game, the South Americans couldn't find the fourth goal that would have kept them in the Cup and thus were out of the tournament.

Spain in Group B became one of only two teams to pick up maximum points, seeing off both Paraguay and Slovenia 3–1 before beating South Africa 3–2.

The other team to win all their group games was Brazil in Group C. Turkey advanced to the next round, too, beating Costa Rica on goal difference. China, coached by Bora Milutinovic, failed to get a point or even score a goal.

Group D saw several surprises as the United States beat Portugal, who many had tipped to win the tournament, 3–2. Then, goalkeeping by Brad Friedel earned the Americans a 1–1 draw with Korea Republic. Korea Republic (South Korea), which previously beat Poland 2–0, beat Portugal in the deciding third match to send the Europeans home and also give the United States a ticket into the second round, despite losing to Poland in the 3rd match.

Germany thrashed Saudi Arabia 8–0 in Group E thanks to three goals from Miroslav Klose. Ireland were playing without captain Roy Keane, sent home days before the World Cup, but led by his unrelated namesake Robbie claimed second place at the expense of African champions Cameroon.

Other than France's failures, the biggest shock of the tournament came in the Group of Death, Group F as pre-tournament favourites Argentina failed to move out of the group. A loss to England 1–0 on a David Beckham penalty and a subsequent draw with Sweden kept the South Americans from advancing. The Scandinavians won the group, with England also going through. Nigeria finished last.

In Group G, Italy, Croatia, and Ecuador all beat each other once. But the Italians' draw against group winners Mexico, while the other two lost to the Central Americans, gave the three-time World Cup champions second place in the group. Ecuador could still enjoy a victory on their first World Cup, beating Croatia 1–0. Co-hosts Japan breezed through Group H, joined by Belgium. Russia and Tunisia were two of the disappointments of the tournament, in what was considered the weakest group of the tournament.

In the second round, Germany beat Paraguay 1–0 on a late goal by Oliver Neuville in a tense, defence-dominated encounter while England thrashed previously-impressive Denmark 3–0. In the Spain-Ireland match, the two teams drew 1–1 and penalties gave Spain a place in the quarter-finals. Sweden and Senegal had a 1–1 match and it took a Golden goal from Henri Camara in extra time to settle the game. The United States overcame Mexico 2–0 thanks to the goals of Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. Brazil defeated a surprising Belgium 2–0, while Turkey ended co-hosts Japan's run with a 1–0 win. The other co-hosts, South Korea, beat Italy 2–1 in sudden-death extra time. South Korea's win ensured that, for the very first time in the Cup's history, teams from each of Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia reached the quarter-finals of the same tournament.

In the quarter-finals, Ronaldinho's free kick sailed over the stunned David Seaman as Brazil beat England 2–1. The United States lost to Germany 1–0 by a Michael Ballack goal. They demanded the referee give a penalty for a goal-line hand ball by Torsten Frings, but to no avail. South Korea got another win, beating Spain on penalties after a 0–0 draw in which the Spaniards twice thought they had scored; however, the efforts were disallowed by the referee. The hosts became the first Asian team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, eclipsing the record of their North Korean counterparts when they reached the quarter-finals in 1966. Turkey continued their remarkable run, stopping Senegal's own with a 1–0 golden goal victory.

The semi-finals saw two 1–0 games; first, Ballack's goal was enough for Germany to defeat South Korea. However, Ballack received a yellow card during the match, which forced him to miss the final based on accumulated yellow cards. Ronaldo scored his sixth of the competition for Brazil, who beat Turkey 1–0 in a replay of their Group C encounter. In the third-place match, Turkey beat the South Koreans 3–2 in a very spirited match for third place.

In the final match held in Yokohama, Japan, two goals from Ronaldo secured the World Cup for Brazil as they claimed victory over Germany. Ronaldo scored twice in the second half and, after the game, won the Golden Boot award for the tournament's leading scorer with eight goals. This was the fifth time Brazil had won the World Cup, cementing their status as the most successful national team in the history of the competition. Brazil's captain Cafu, who became the first player to appear in three successive World Cup finals, accepted the trophy on behalf of the team.

Notable Facts
Hakan Sukur of Turkey holds the record for the fastest goal during the tournament. He scored after only 11 seconds of play against Korea Republic in 2002. Second place goes to Vaclav Masek of Czechoslovakia who scored after 15 seconds against Mexico in 1962. There have been three other first minute goals: Bryan Robson of England - 27 seconds against France in 1982, Bernard Lacombe of France - 37 seconds against Italy in 1978, and Celso Ayala of Paraguay - 52 seconds against Nigeria in 1998.

Golden Boot
Brazil’s Ronaldo with 8 goals

Thomas Linke of Germany battles for the ball with Ronaldinho of Brazil during the first half. (AFP)

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