World Cup 2002
Teams in qualifiers: 199
Notable absentees: Netherlands
Surprises: Senegal, South Korea, Turkey
Golden Boot: Ronaldo (Brazil) - 8
Stats: A total of 161 goals were scored (2.52 per match); Brazil (18) scored the most
Format: Eight groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to a knockout round of 16
Number of matches: 64
• This was the first tournament to be hosted by two countries and the first held in Asia.
• FIFA banned Cameroon from wearing the sleeveless shirts they had used throughout the 2002 African Nations Cup as they were deemed to be 'vests'
• Three countries pre-qualified - France as holders and South Korea and Japan as co-hosts
• On the same day as the final, the two lowest-ranked FIFA teams - Montserrat (203rd) and Bhutan (202nd) - met in Bhutan. The hosts won 2-0 in front of 15,000
• Ronaldo changed his hairstyle after the quarter-finals when his wife told him their young son kissed the TV screen shouting "daddy" when he saw Roberto Carlos
• South Korea's Cha Doo-Ri was booked 20 seconds after coming in as a substitute during injury time in a match against Poland
• Bora Milutinovic was a coach at his fifth successive finals with his fifth different country.
In a tournament characterised by an overwhelming capacity to surprise, with virtually every underdog having their day, it seemed somehow inappropriate that the final of the 2002 World Cup was contested by two teams who between them had graced 12 of the competition's 16 finals.
Brazil, with four titles to their name going into the tournament, prevailed against a decidedly average German side, with three previous wins, by two goals to nil in a match that ended in a fashion the neutrals wanted and the tournament needed.
Ronaldo got both goals - his seventh and eighth of the tournament - and earned the striker the competition's Golden Boot at the same time as slaying the ghosts of France 98. There was, at least, one anomaly saved for the competition's dénouement - Player of the Tournament Oliver Kahn was culpable for Brazil's first, fumbling a speculative shot from Rivaldo to the feet of his gleeful strike partner. This after the indomitable German had conceded just one goal in his country's six previous matches.
Brazil's return to all-conquering form, welcome though their easy-on-the-eye brand of football always is, was largely overshadowed by the achievements of the hosts, both on the field of play and in the slick organisation and good spirit garnered off it. For the first time in World Cup history, the finals went to Asia and, also a first, to not one but two countries. Korea and Japan set aside historical differences to jointly host one of the most successful tournaments ever, even if the standard of football on offer, at times, was not quite up to scratch, and the standard of refereeing was described with alarming regularity in much less delicate fashion.
A sign of shocks to come arrived as early as the opening match when newcomers Senegal dramatically upset holders France, previously considered all but unbeatable, with a 1-0 victory. It went from bad to worse for the disappointing French as Les Bleus bid au revoir at the group stage having failed even to register a goal. A 0-0 draw with Uruguay, with Thierry Henry sent off, earned their solitary point before a 2-0 reversal at the hands of the impressive Danes ended their participation and cost coach Roger Lemerre his job.
There were other high-profile casualties at the group stage as many people's pre-tournament favourites, Argentina, felt the reaper's bony clutches in the group of death. A David Beckham penalty, dubiously won by Michael Owen, did for the Argentines as England, and Beckham in particular, finally banished the demons of St Etienne after some traditional backs-against-the-wall defending. Nigeria finished bottom of a group headed up by unbeaten Sweden, ahead of second-placed England on goal difference.
If Group F had been a touch morbid then life positively flourished in Group H as co-hosts Japan successfully navigated the least challenging of paths with Russia and Tunisia offering barely passive resistance as the sport's hold on the Japanese public began to tighten its grip.
Brazil made short shrift of the opening stages by first beating Turkey, then China - coached by Velibor 'Bora' Milutinovic, at his fifth successive finals with a different team after having managed Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), USA (1994) and Nigeria (1998) - and then dispatching of Costa Rica. The match against the Turks was blemished by some appalling 'simulation' (cheating) by Rivaldo, who feigned an injury to his face after having the ball kicked at his knees by Hakan Ünsal - sent off for his troubles - when preparing to take a corner. The Brazilian was later fined £5,180.
Spain had an effortless time sweeping to the top of a group containing South Africa, Slovenia - taking their World Cup bow - and Paraguay. The Paraguayans had to rely on a late goal against the Slovenians in a 3-1 win to sneak past the luckless Africans on the narrowest of margins, goals scored.
Things, however, did not run as smoothly for their second-round opponents, Republic of Ireland. Manager Mick McCarthy and inspirational captain Roy Keane clashed over the team's preparations and, amid accusations and counter-accusations following a bust-up at a meeting arranged by McCarthy, Keane was sent home in disgrace but indignant.
The Irish appeared doomed but, thanks to the heroics of namesake Robbie, they held the Germans - earlier 8-0 victors over hapless Saudi Arabia - to a 1-1 draw that ensured they would qualify behind Rudi Völler's team at the expense of traditional African heavyweights Cameroon.
Italy made hard work of qualifying from their own group after succumbing meekly to a fast-fading Croatian team, third at the previous finals but showing their age, and being held by group winners Mexico.
But if any of the qualifying pools of the opening stages epitomised the summer's jamboree, it was that containing co-hosts South Korea, hotly-tipped Portugal, outsiders USA and Poland. Many feared the Koreans, under Dutchman Guus Hiddink, would struggle to win a match, let alone escape the group, but they were to embark on a fairytale run that would turn the nation's streets into all-night carnivals. Victory over Poland and a tough draw with USA took them to within touching distance, and a Portuguese humbling at the hands of the Americans had turned the form book on its head. Despite defeat to a Poland side that was already out of contention, USA took second after Korea beat Portugal in a rancorous affair.
Korea's Park Ji-Sung became an instant hero after controlling a 30-yard pass on his chest, hooking the ball over Sérgio Conceiçao and striking a half-volley through Vítor Baía's legs to score against nine men after Joao Pinto and Beto had been sent off, sending those inside and outside the ground into raptures.
In the knockout stages, England eased past the in-form Danes in the rain of Niigata thanks to goals from Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand and Emile Heskey, raising a nation's already inflated expectations, while Germany quietly stumbled past Paraguay, and Brazil were indebted to keeper Marcos in seeing off a spirited challenge from Belgium.
Senegal, inspired by El Hadji Diouf, continued their fine run with a dramatic golden goal win over the Swedes while the Mexicans descended into petty fouling when bitter rivals USA's 2-0 lead became insurmountable in the closing stages of their encounter. Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan had done the damage as USA's burgeoning reputation as a maturing footballing side grew.
Even extra-time was not enough to separate Spain and Ireland as penalties reared their unwanted head for the first time. Ian Harte had missed a spot-kick in normal time and Robbie Keane converted another, so it was with mixed feelings that McCarthy's men approached the shoot out. Iker Casillas saved twice and Matt Holland hit the bar to end a brave Irish adventure.
Both hosts played their next match on the same day and, after Japan had fallen to a very decent Turkish performance, it was left to South Korea to fly the region's flag, but they faced a greater ask in beating Italy. In the end, they prevailed in the most dramatic - and controversial - of circumstances. Ahn Jung-Hwan went from villain to hero after missing an early penalty but he popped up to head a golden goal winner after it had looked for all the world like Christian Vieri's headed goal would be enough for the Europeans. Seol Ki-Hyeon had latched onto a Christian Panucci error to put the ball into the right-hand bottom corner for a last-gasp equaliser that set up the grandstand finish.
The Italians did not take defeat with good grace and Perugia, Ahn's Italian employers, through colourful chief Luciano Gaucci, sacked him immediately for his act of treason, saying: "That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again. He was a phenomenon only against Italy. I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian football."
Referee Byron Moreno, too, was not a popular figure after sending off golden boy Francesco Totti for a dive in extra-time, dominated by the lively and physically resilient South Koreans, when he tumbled in the box vainly searching for a penalty. Struggling to top each party, expecting it to be the last, over a million people poured out onto the streets of Seoul alone, but it was not long before more face-paint and fireworks were required - again, in some part, thanks to a benevolent official.
Spain, their quarter-final opponents, had two 'goals' chalked off, one for a debatable offside call, the second denying the Iberians a golden-goal winner after an assistant referee wrongly flagged that the ball had gone out of play before Joaquin crossed for Fernando Morientes to head home. Penalties were needed to settle the game and, after Lee Woon-Jae had saved Joaquin's spot-kick, it fell, appropriately, to South Korea's captain and most capped player, Hong Myung-Bo, to convert the winning penalty. South Korea thus became the first Asian side to make the semi-finals and added fuel to the fire of both Korean street parties and calls for reform of the method of picking match officials.
A policy of inclusion of officials from the breadth of FIFA's family meant Moreno (Ecuador), the referee from the Spanish game, Gamal Ghandour (Egypt) and Peter Prendergast (Jamaica), who had missed a legitimate Belgian goal in their match against Brazil, were selected ahead of mainly European whistle-blowers with more match experience. Such a policy was scrapped for Germany 2006.
Elsewhere, Turkey edged out Senegal in a match between two largely unfancied sides, the only goal a golden one from Ilhan Mansiz and Germany, despite being second-best for large passages of play, scraped past Bruce Arena's USA to book a record ninth semi-final appearance.
With a number of the big teams fallen by the wayside, the victors of England's clash with Brazil had a very real chance of ultimate glory and England expected once Michael Owen had seized on a mistake to put them one up. But a moment of brilliance from Rivaldo just before the break was followed by Ronaldinho deceiving David Seaman from distance by lobbing the ageing keeper from a free-kick. The Brazilian was later sent off but Sven-Göran Eriksson had no response to the opportunity presented and the English meekly bowed out, another chance gone.
Korea's fairytale came to an end at the hands of the Germans, who paid heavily for their 1-0 semi-final victory by losing Michael Ballack to an accumulation of yellow cards. A professional foul when South Korea looked to be building towards goal was a selfless act but one that put his side at a huge disadvantage in the final against Brazil, victors over Turkey by the same scoreline in the other semi-final.
Brazil took the honours but the people of Japan and South Korea won the plaudits for the warmth of their welcome and the flawless way they conducted their responsibilities with the eyes of the world trained upon them - and for providing some breathtaking excitement and colour both on and off the field.