South Korea and Japan 2002 – first World Cup on Asian ground

Regarding World Cups, beginning of the new millennium was the beginning of new era in football – for the first time the competition was held in Asia, for the last time rule of golden goal was valid, for the first time a tournament was held in two countries, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea and Japan 2002 – first World Cup on Asian ground
South Korea and Japan 2002

World Cup 2002

Host: Japan and South Korea
Champion: Brazil (fifth title)
Final: Brazil – Germany 2:0 (0:0)
Top scorer: Ronaldo (Brazil) 8 goals
Best player: Oliver Kan (Germany)
Total goals: 161 (2.52 average)
Most efficient national team: Brazil (18)
Ratings: 2,705,197 (42,269 average)

France, crowned with glory, came to defend the title and returned home after only three games, with only one point but without a scored goal. Already at the beginning of the tournament, Senegal won against France in a sensational match with 1:0 and announced that that Mundial would represent twilight of the favorites. Danish from group A joined Senegalese in the round of 16, while former world champions Uruguayans and the French said goodbye to Korea where they played matches. There were these kinds of outcomes in other groups – Americans sent Portuguese home with 3:2, Swedish saddened Argentineans for the top of the group with 1:1 in the third round and Croats, who came from France with bronze, sobered quite a bit. In the last round, Ecuador left them without round of 16 with victory 1:0. Completely unexpected duel between Turkish and Korean selection for bronze (3:2) turned out to be attractive, and started with record quick goal by Hakan Sukur, who shook the net after 10.8 seconds.

However, that was not the end of dreams for selections with glorious football history or great reputation. Hosts Koreans, though with big support of referees, cleared the path to semifinals over Italy and Spain, where they bumped into inexorable Germans. In the other part of the draw, Senegalese and Turks made a historical success by entering the quarterfinals, where team from Bosporus was better. Of course, it would have been too much if the Koreans and Turks got to the final sensationally, Germans and Brazilians were better with minimal 1:0. Duel between Germans and Brazilians only turned into another dilemma, who would be better – Oliver Kahn or Ronaldo? By final, goalkeeper of Der Panzer conceded only one goal (by Robbie Keane in the group stage), but capitulated before Ronaldo in 67th and 79th minute of match in Yokohama. With that Keane experienced Ronaldo’s destiny, who was four years earlier the best player defeated in the final, and this was the last time famous Brazilian infatuated the entire planet with his stunts in all their glory. Youngsters on all meridians copied his haircut after this Mundial and tried to copy his dribbling, in which neither Rivaldo nor Ronaldinho, scorer of now legendary goal against Englishmen, lagged behind. Together, they brought record fifth title to Brazil, becoming the first national team after 1970 to come to Gold goddess with maximum output, the first to triumph without penalties in the knockout stage after Argentina in 1986. Next to that, a new record was made in goal difference with +14. And for the very end, Cafu became the first player to play in three World Cup finals in a row, and that time he raised the trophy in the name of his team.

On that Mundial, team of champions was led by Luiz Felipe Scolari, the same as now when Brazil is the host. Citizens of five-time world champions are looking at him, Neymar and the team as if they were hope of the entire nation after successful overture in the Confederations Cup. Whether they will satisfy football hunger of Brazil, we will find out…

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