Last Updated 05 | 06 | 2014 at 09:00


South Korea and Japan 2002

Article By:
Pierre Sciberras

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th staging of the FIFA World Cup, held in South 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 South Korea 3–2 in the third place match. France were the defending champions but were eliminated in the group stage after earning a single point.

South Korea and Japan were selected as hosts by FIFA on 31 May 1996. Initially, South 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 final tournament are 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 held in Tokyo on 7 December 1999. Defending champions France and co-hosts Korea Republic (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. As of 2014, this was the last time Turkey, China, Republic of Ireland and Senegal qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals.

Turkey qualified for the first time since 1954, and both Poland 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 and Uruguay) 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) This feat repeated in.

Other teams that failed to qualify for this tournament aside the Netherlands included Scotland, Morocco, Norway, Chile, Austria, Bulgaria, Indonesia (as Dutch East Indies),Northern Ireland, Iran, Costa Rica, Romania, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, Australia, Nigeria, all of whom had qualified for the previous finals even once.

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 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). 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. 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 United States beat Portugal 3–2. Then, goalkeeping by Brad Friedel earned the Americans a 1–1 draw with South Korea. South Korea, who 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 defeated Saudi Arabia 8–0 in Group E. 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.

In Group F 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 North Americans, gave the three-time World Cup champions second place in the group. Ecuador beat Croatia 1–0.

Co-hosts Japan won Group H, joined by Belgium. Russia and Tunisia failed to qualify.

In the second round, Germany beat Paraguay 1–0 with a goal by Oliver Neuville while England defeated 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 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 scored Brazil's second goal as they beat England 2–1. The United States lost to Germany 1–0 by a Michael Ballack goal in the 39th minute. United States demanded the referee give a penalty for a goal-line handball 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 with controversial decisions. 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 defeated Senegal's 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, 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.

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 matches that there were a significant number of empty seats. It was gradually revealed that the World Cup Ticketing Bureau (WCTB) 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.

Germany eliminated Paraguay through an 88th-minute winner from Oliver Neuville. England breezed past the Danes with a 3–0 win, while Henri Camara scored the golden goa lthat put Senegal through to the quarter-finals at Sweden's expense. Spain eliminated Ireland on penalties after a tense match, in which Robbie Keane levelled the scores with a penalty, just as Spain looked like they would be going through in normal time. In the North American derby, the United States defeated Mexico 2–0 to set up a quarter-final tie with Germany. Brazil defeated Belgium 2–0 and Turkey ended the journey of hosts Japan. In an echo of North Korea's victory over Italy in 1966, South Korea defeated the Azzurri with a golden goal from Perugia's Ahn Jung-Hwan. After the game, Ahn was told by Perugia's president, Luciano Gaucci, that he would never play for the club again, only for Gaucci to have a change of heart the following day.

In the quarter-finals, Brazil's Ronaldinho caught out England goalkeeper David Seaman with a lobbed free kick from 42 yards to send Brazil into the semis. Oliver Kahn kept Germany in front of the USA with a string of saves in a first half dominated by the Americans, save for the winning goal, scored by Michael Ballack in the 39th minute. Meanwhile Spain were unable to win a second consecutive penalty shoot-out, losing to South Korea after having two goals controversially disallowed in normal time, with South Korea becoming the first (and, as of 2010, the only) team from outside Europe and the Americas to reach the last four of a World Cup. Turkey ended the dream of Africa's sole quarter-final representative, Senegal, with an İlhan Mansız golden goal.

Brazil defeated Turkey, thanks to a single goal from the tournament's top scorer, Ronaldo. Despite picking up a booking that would rule him out of the final, Michael Ballack scored the goal that sent Germany to the final and consigned South Korea to the third place play-off.

Turkey won third place after an entertaining 3–2 victory over hosts South Korea, in a match that included the fastest ever World Cup goal, scored by Parma striker and Turkey veteran Hakan Şükür after just 11 seconds.
The 2002 final was the first World Cup meeting between the tournament's two most consistently successful teams: Brazil and Germany. Two goals from Ronaldo were enough to see Brazil crowned world champions for the fifth time and Germany made runners-up for a record fourth time. The first goal occurred when Germany goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn, failed to deal with a long-range shot from Rivaldo, spilling the ball directly into Ronaldo's path. The two Brazilians worked together again on the second goal when Rivaldo stepped over a square ball from Kléberson, allowing Ronaldo to side-foot it home from the edge of the box.

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