The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th staging of the FIFA World Cup, held in Republic of Korea and Japan from 31 May to 30 June. It was also the first World Cup held in Asia, and the last in which the golden goal rule was implemented. Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, beating Germany 2–0 in the final. Turkey beat Korea Republic 3–2 in the third place match.
Korea and Japan were selected as hosts by FIFA on May 31, 1996. Initially, Korea, Japan, and Mexico presented three rival bids. However, the two Asian countries agreed to unite their bids shortly before the decision was made, and they were chosen unanimously in preference to Mexico. This was the first (and so far the only) World cup to be hosted by two countries.At the time the decision was made, Japan had never qualified for a World Cup finals (although the Japanese did subsequently qualify for the 1998 competition). The only other countries to have been awarded a World Cup without previously having competed in a Finals tournament are Uruguay in 1930, Italy in 1934 and Qatar in 2022.
A total of 199 teams attempted to qualify for the 2002 World Cup which qualification process began with the preliminary draw in 1999. Defending World Champions France and co-hosts Republic of Korea (South Korea)and Japan automatically qualified and did not have to play any qualification matches. (This was the last time that the defending champions automatically qualified).
14 places were contested by UEFA teams (Europe), five by CAF teams (Africa), four by CONMEBOL teams (South America), four by AFC teams (Asia), and three by CONCACAF teams (North and Central America and Caribbean). The remaining two places were decided by playoffs between AFC and UEFA and between CONMEBOL and OFC (Oceania). Four nations qualified for the finals for the first time: China, Ecuador,Senegal, and Slovenia.
Turkey qualified for the first time since 1954, and Portugal for the first time since 1986. 1998 semi-finalists the Netherlands failed to qualify, while South Korea set a record by appearing in a fifth successive finals tournament, the first nation from outside Europe or the Americas to achieve this feat.
All seven previous World Cup-winning nations (Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy andUruguay) qualified, the first time so many previous champions had been present at a finals tournament (all these nations had also appeared at the 1986 tournament, but France had not yet won the competition).
The eight seeded teams for the 2002 tournament were announced on 28 November 2001. The seeds comprised Pot A in the draw. Pot B contained the remaining 11 European sides; Pot C contained five unseeded qualifiers from CONMEBOL and AFC. Pot D contained unseeded sides from the CONCACAF region and Africa. This was the last FIFA World Cup with the defending champion in Group A. Since 2006, the Host nation has been in Group A.
Before the draw, it was arranged that the last three teams in Pot B would be drawn into four groups which did not already contain two European teams and one would be left without second European team. This was ultimately Group C.
On 1 December 2001, the draw was held and the group assignments and order of fixtures were determined. Group F was considered the group of death, as it brought together Argentina, England, Nigeria and Sweden.
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 since 1934 (when Uruguay refused to defend the title). 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 beatingSouth Africa 3–2. Paraguay needed a late goal against another newcomer, Slovenia, to tie with South Africa on goal difference (they were already tied on points) and move to the second round on the next tiebreaker, goals scored.
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 Milutinović (the fifth national team he coached in five consecutive World Cups), failed to get a point or even score a goal.
Group D saw several surprises as the United States beat Portugal, whom 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 them 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 ofAfrican champions Cameroon.
Other than France’s failures, the biggest shock of the tournament came in the Group of Death, Group F as pre-tournament favouritesArgentina 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 North 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.
Second round and quarter-finals
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 for Senegal. 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 Ballackgoal in the 39th minute. The USA demanded the referee give a penalty for a goal-line hand ball by Torsten Frings in the 49th minute, 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 team in the Asian Football Confederation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, eclipsing the record of their North Korean counterparts who reached the quarter-finals in 1966. Turkey continued their remarkable run, stopping Senegal’s own with a 1–0 golden goal victory.
Semi-finals, third-place match, and final
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, their first goal coming from Hakan Şükür straight from the opening kick-off (even though South Korea kicked off) in 10.8 seconds, the fastest ever goal in World Cup history.
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 Shoe 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 became the only team since Argentina in 1986 to win the trophy without needing to win a penalty shootout at some stage during the knockout phase, and the total number of penalty shootouts (2) was the lowest since the four-round knockout format was introduced in 1986. Brazil also became the first team to win every match at a World Cup Finals since 1970, and set a new record for highest aggregate goal difference (+14) for a World Cup winner. 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.
Ticket sales problem
The original domestic ticket allocation had fully sold out and the organising committee completed sales of tickets returned from the international allocation by the end of April. However, it was obvious at the opening two matches in Japan that there was a significant number of empty seats, and it was gradually revealed that the WCTB, World Cup Ticketing Bureau, still had unsold tickets in its possession. After FIFA agreed to sell this inventory, JAWOC undertook sales over telephone and WCTB handled the internet sales. For the second round Japan vs. Turkey match in Miyagi in particular, although it was reported by both parties that all tickets had been sold, some 700 seats remained empty.
Korea Republic and Japan each provided ten stadia, the vast majority of them newly built for the tournament.
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