Brazil had suffered the worst qualifying campaign in their history. Luiz Felipe Scolari had ignored an obstreperous clamour to recall Romario. He'd put his faith in a striker that had barely kicked a ball in two-and-a-half years. Seemingly nobody felt four stars could become five at the 17th FIFA World Cup™, but that’s what memorably transpired in ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’. FIFA.com remembers their campaign statistically.
19,000 kilometres away from Ulsan is what Ricardinho was when he received the most important phone call of his life – and he wasn’t even there to answer it. One day before Brazil kicked off their campaign, captain Emerson, mucking about in goal during a kickabout, dislocated his shoulder saving a Rivaldo shot. Ricardinho, on holiday in Curitiba, heard there was a chance the Brazil captain may be sent home, but, having never been called up by Scolari, figured he had “zero chance” of earning an invite, so he turned his phone off and went to mass. Fortunately, his wife Juliana had “believed in the miracle”, turned the phone back on, answered it, and told CBF chief Americo Faria her husband would be on the first route out once he returned from church. Via Sao Paulo, USA and the Brazilian consulate in Japan (he was given special permission to renew his expired passport there!), Ricardinho finally made it to Korea Republic.
170 World Cup matches is what Brazil and Germany had played between each other heading into the 2002 Final – yet, curiously, never against one another.
118/1 those were the staggering odds on a double of Brazil to lift the Trophy (6/1) and Ronaldo to win the adidas Golden Boot (16/1) on offer when Korea/Japan 2002 kicked off. Brazil were the fourth-favourites behind Argentina, France and Italy, while Ronaldo was the sixth-favourite behind David Trezeguet, Christian Vieri, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Raul.
89 per cent of Brazil’s goals were scored by players whose shirt names began with 'R' – the highest a World Cup-winning team has had from one letter. Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo got 16 of their 18 goals.
28 years after Grzegorz Lato became the last man to score more than six goals at a World Cup, Ronaldo repeated the feat by managing eight. Only four players have netted more at one edition of the competition than O Fenômeno: Just Fontaine (13), Sandor Kocsis (11), Gerd Muller (10) and Eusebio (9).
21 players made match appearances for Brazil at Korea/Japan 2002 – a joint-record for a World Cup-winning squad along with Italy from 2006. Only reserve goalkeepers Dida and Rogerio Ceni failed to feature. In contrast, only 12 players represented A Seleção during their triumphant Chile 1962 campaign.
19 clubs is what Brazil’s 23 players came from – a record for a World Cup-winning squad. Uruguay in 1950 and Brazil in 1962 were represented by only seven clubs apiece.
12 minutes of action: that is the time in which Ronaldinho had dribbled 40 yards to set up Rivaldo’s equaliser, scored one of the most bizarre goals in World Cup history and been sent off for catching England’s Danny Mills in a pulsating quarter-final.
7 stadiums in one World Cup is what Brazil are the only team in which to play. Uruguay didn’t play outside the Estadio Centenario in 1930.
7 victories is what Scolari’s side is the only to achieve in one World Cup. Uruguay in 1930 (four matches), Italy in 1938 (four) and Brazil in 1970 (six) are the only other teams to finish a tournament with a 100 per cent record.
6 games against six nations is what Brazil lost in Korea/Japan 2002 qualifying – easily their worst performance in the World Cup preliminaries. After defeats by Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia, Brazil required a result in their final qualifier against Venezuela. Two goals from the recalled Luizao helped them win 3-0.
5 days before Scolari named his 23-man squad, Djalminha headbutted his Deportivo coach Javier Irureta, which cost him a certain ticket to the Far East. The Brazil coach had recently had dinner with the superlatively talented yet equally polemic playmaker in Barcelona, and told him: “I need you at the World Cup – just stay out of trouble.” Scolari subsequently omitted Djalminha and called up Kaka. It came 32 years after Djalminha’s father, stylish defender Djalma Dias, who played every one of Brazil’s Mexico 1970 qualifiers, was agonisingly cut from the final squad for the tournament by Mario Zagallo.
3 members of Scolari’s squad had never even won an international cap heading into 2002: Anderson Polga, Kleberson, who became a key figure in their triumph, and Kaka. Gilberto Silva made his Brazil bow slightly earlier in October 2001, but just a few years earlier, while Ronaldo was becoming the most expensive footballer in history, he was earning around $80 USD per month working in a candy factory.
3 World Cup Finals is what Cafu is the only player to have appeared in. ‘The Express Train’ came on for an injured Jorginho in the first half against Italy in 1994, competed against France in 1998 and captained the side against Germany in 2002.
2 days after hobbling out of the quarter-final against England, Ronaldo made the wacky decision to ask Dida to shave his head – aside from a half-circle at the front. "Everybody kept going on about the injury, about me having been out for years, questioning whether I would play in the semi-final," explained Ronaldo. "The moment I did that all anyone talked about was my hairstyle. It was fun, I could relax."