Redemption for Ronaldo as world's eyes turn east
The 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Korea/Japan reflected a changing football world.
On a new continent, old powers were falling fast and after a
succession of surprises, for the first time the quarter-finals
featured teams from five different federations. In the end,
however, it was two well-known faces, Germany and Brazil, who
contested the Final and the South Americans who claimed an
unprecedented fifth world crown.
Ronaldo, so subdued in Brazil's Final defeat by France four years earlier, was the hero for Luiz Felipe Scolari's Seleção, scoring both goals in their 2-0 victory in Yokohama. He ended the tournament with eight in total – the most at a FIFA World Cup since Gerd Muller struck ten in Mexico in 1970.
Senegal set the tone
The tone of the group stage was set in the Opening Match as African debutants Senegal shocked the holders France with a 1-0 victory in Seoul, courtesy of Pape Bouba Diop's scrambled finish. The French never really recovered from that result, finishing at the foot of Group A without a single goal scored. For the Senegalese, however, it was just the start. The Lions of Teranga progressed to the second round where they beat Sweden on a golden goal, before succumbing in the same way against Turkey in the quarter-finals.
The United States were the architects of another significant
upset as they opened their tournament by beating highly-fancied
Portugal 3-2. The Portuguese bounced back to beat Poland but then went down to Group D's other surprise package, Korea Republic,
as a second European power headed home far earlier than expected.
Argentina's elimination alongside Nigeria in Group F was an ever bigger surprise. Marcelo Bielsa's side beat the Nigerians in their first game but then lost 1-0 to old rivals England in Sapporo in probably the most keenly anticipated match of the first stage. England captain David Beckham, sent off when the teams met at France 98, laid that ghost to rest by netting the only goal from the penalty spot. When the South Americans were then held by Sweden in their third fixture, they joined the ranks of big names bound for home.
Although the knockout rounds followed a more predictable pattern than the group stage, co-hosts Korea Republic continue to defy expectations. In the Round of 16, Guus Hiddink's men came from behind to defeat Italy through Ahn Jung Hwan's golden goal. Then, in the quarter-finals, they rode their luck to overcome a strong Spain side on penalties.
A 1-0 loss in the semi-final to Germany could not dampen the incredible enthusiasm of the Korean public, who flooded the streets with a sea of red every time the hosts played. It was Asia's first FIFA World Cup and over in Japan they were busy having a party of their own. With the vociferous backing of their excitable supporters, Philippe Troussier's Japan topped Group H, recording their first ever finals win against Russia and then beating Tunisia too.
However, Japan's adventure ended in defeat by an impressive
Turkey team in the last 16. Turkey were appearing in their first
finals since 1954 and sneaked into the second round ahead of Costa
Rica on goal difference. After beating Japan, Ilhan Mansiz's
golden goal took them past Senegal and into the semi-finals. There
they lost another tight match, 1-0 to a Brazil side who had come
from behind to beat England in the quarter-finals.
Germans work way to Final
Traditional powers Germany were few people's favourites before the tournament, having lost 5-1 to England in qualifying and needed recourse to the play-offs. Yet three consecutive 1-0 victories in the knockout rounds took them to their seventh Final. Against both the USA in the quarter-finals and Korea Republic in the semis, a Michael Ballack goal and Oliver Kahn's goalkeeping made the difference. However, Ballack's booking against the Koreans meant he missed the Final.
Ironically, it was the previously flawless Kahn – winner of the Golden Ball – who gifted Ronaldo the decisive first goal midway through the second half of the deciding match in Yokohama on 30 June. 'The Phenomenon' then stroked a second past Kahn following a brilliant Rivaldo dummy and the glory was Brazil's. For Ronaldo, unable to perform to his potential in the 1998 Final and injured for so long subsequently, here was a moment of redemption.
After a month of unforeseen heroes and unexpected victims, the finals in the Far East ended with a familiar scene – the yellow-shirted South Americans holding aloft the FIFA World Cup trophy. By capturing their fifth world title, Brazil kept alive their extraordinary record of having triumphed on every continent that has hosted the event.