2002 World Cup Japan South Korean Facts

In 2002 I watched most of the afternoon games (shown in India in the afternoon) at my uncle’s house two doors away with my uncle and grandmother – who was under medication and supposed to sleep a little after lunch and her medicines but still wanted to spend time with her son & me. On May 31, 1996, FIFA decided the 17th FIFA World Cup would be hosted in continent Asia. Never in soccer history had Asia hosted this magnificent event. For the first time in FIFA World Cup history, two countries would host the 2002 World Cup together: South Korea and Japan. Another exciting aspect was that in 1996 when the announcement was made, Japan had never yet qualified for a FIFA World Cup Finals. They would, however, qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

China qualified for the first time. South Korea became the first country outside Europe, South America, North and Central America, and the Caribbean to qualify for the fifth successive finals tournament. France showed an excellent performance four years earlier to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy. But four years later, France finished last in Group A. Their first loss was against Senegal. Senegal drew the two other matches against Denmark and Uruguay. As a result, both Senegal and Denmark advanced to the Round of 16. Senegal would also beat Sweden and advancing to the Quarter-Final.

Another surprise was Portugal known for players such as Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Joao Pinto, and trainer Paulo Bento. It was highly expected that Portugal would win their group, but this didn’t happen. Their first surprising loss was against the USA. Germany started the tournament with an impressive victory: 8-0 against Saudi Arabia. Miroslav Klose scored a hat trick with his head! As with France, Argentina played one of their worst World Cup performance in 2002. Argentina only won the first match against Nigeria. In this match where the rivals England and Argentina played each other, it was England which was finally able to defeat Argentina. David Beckham scored the only goal, which was a penalty.

A highly controversial match was the Round of 16 match between South Korea against Italy with the former winning. This is because the mistakes that referee Byron Moreno made were so controversial. Italian Damiano Tommasi scored a Golden Goal, but this was controversially ruled offside. Another controversial decision by the referee was giving Francesco Totti his 2nd yellow card in extra time since he supposedly dived. Brazil would beat England to advance to the semis. The Koreans were finally stopped by Germany in the semis, while Brazil beat Turkey, who eventually won 3rd place by beating the co-hosts. After Brazil lost 1998 final, it once again had a chance to become the first country to win five World Cups.

After 12 years, Germany managed to reach the Final again. However, this was the first time Germany reached the Final as Germany instead of West Germany. A crucial player who would miss the Final was Michael Ballack. He received his first yellow card against Paraguay and second against South Korea. On the 30th of June 2002, the Final was held in the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan, with an attendance of 69,029. Brazil won again with Ronaldo scoring 2 goals.

2002 World Cup Facts

Date: 31 May – 30 July 2002
Final: Germany – Brazil 0-2
3rd place: South Korea – Turkey 2-3
Teams: 32
Stadiums: 20
Host cities: 20
Matches played: 64
Goals: 161
Attendance: 2,705,197
Top scorer: Ronaldo (Brazil) (8 goals)

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