The story of the 2002 World Cup
Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will be looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, we get the lowdown from two men who helped create almighty upsets.
South Korea and Japan, May & June, 2002
"I watched the World Cup in 1998 with my family in my house in Senegal. I saw France win on TV and then four years later I scored the first goal of the tournament as we beat France, the best team in the world, 1-0. It's... too big. Even now, it's too big to understand."
As the giant Papa Bouba Diop chats away at the Portsmouth training ground on a beautiful spring afternoon, the enormity of what he and his team-mates achieved in Seoul on 31 May, 2002 seems to wash over him all over again. As soon as the subject is raised, there's an unmistakable glint in those eyes.
It was the first World Cup in Asia, the first to have two hosts (in South Korea and Japan), and the opening game produced an astonishing upset. Reigning champions and Euro 2000 winners France were one of the biggest pre-tournament favourites ever, with Senegal a massive 10/1 against to beat a side containing Vieira, Desailly, Henry and Thuram but - crucially - missing the injured genius of Zinedine Zidane.
It is better if Diop takes up the story: "It was our first World Cup and we wanted to enjoy it. But before the game, we were told by the experts we would lose 5-0 or 6-0 - no-one gave us a chance. We had no worries; we just had fun together, whereas the French were under immense pressure.
"When I scored after half an hour, I couldn't believe it. I sprinted towards the corner and all I could think about were people at home in Senegal going mad celebrating. We had planned that if someone scored he would take off his shirt and we'd dance around it, so I did. What an experience."
I neglect to tell Diop his goal won me a small bet, just in case he asks for a cut. We are at cash-strapped Portsmouth, after all.
But Senegal's experience continued. They drew 1-1 with Denmark and 3-3 in a thriller with Uruguay - in which Diop scored twice more - as they qualified from Group A. A second round win over Sweden prolonged the story, only for Turkey to end their run in the quarter-finals. But for Diop and Senegal, it was mission accomplished.
"A lot of people in the host countries and elsewhere did not know about Senegal, that it even existed," he said. "After the World Cup they did - we put our country on the map and there's nothing bigger than that.
"We had an amazing team spirit, something every World Cup team should try to have. When you are playing and you look at the bench and see your friend, you have to give it everything, 100%. You're not better than him, you're just lucky you get to play. So you cannot waste it."
It proved to be a tournament of shocks. Perhaps inspired by the feats of Senegal, both co-hosts did better than predicted, with Japan reaching the last 16 and South Korea producing a story to perhaps even surpass that of the west Africans.
Having finished top of a group that included Portugal and Poland, Guus Hiddink's men faced the mighty Italy in the second round. Christian Vieri gave the Italians an early lead only for Seol Ki-Hyeon to level in the dying moments, before Ahn Jung-Hwan's extra-time winner sent a nation into delirium - and one of the favourites home.
Ahn, who played his club football for Perugia at the time, was told immediately by the club's president Luciano Gaucci he had "ruined Italian football". Gaucci told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again."
It is a reaction Ahn - who moved to J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse after the tournament - will never comprehend. "I don't understand why they did this to me," he told me. "Even now, I cannot find any reason to convince myself, I still cannot accept it. When I scored that goal, the feeling was unbelievable. It was the best moment of my career."
Korea, whose remarkable run was causing mass hysteria at home, ploughed on as they went on to beat much-fancied Spain on penalties, before losing out to a Michael Ballack goal in the semi-finals against Germany. Ahn says it was beyond their wildest dreams to achieve so much.
"Italy and Spain were very strong teams so we did not believe we could beat them," he added. "We thought we could accept it if we lost the match because they both had so many talented players at that time. But we had a good mentality and played at 100% and because of that we were able to leave tension and inferiority behind.
"When we beat Spain, I've never seen anything like it. There were so many people and cars on the street and all the bars were open after midnight, some of them serving drinks free of charge. It was like the whole nation was having a big party."
Everywhere you turned, a story was emerging. Even before the tournament had started Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane was on his way home after a row with manager Mick McCarthy. Once it got under way there were early exits for France and Argentina, the Rivaldo play-acting incident, the emergence of Ronaldinho and the re-birth of Ronaldo - and, of course, the pandemonium surrounding England and their captain David Beckham.
Beckham, the world's most famous footballing face, was idolised in the Far East. His poster boy looks adorned countless billboards, his every move was intensely scrutinised and the second metatarsal on his left foot - injured by the Argentine Aldo Duscher in April - became the best-known bone on earth as he battled to be fit in time. His fame was exploding, though threatening to cast a shadow over England's preparations.
But as England right-back Danny Mills reveals, the other players loved the attention. "How did he handle it? He lapped it up and so did we," said the 19-times capped right-back. "We jumped on the bandwagon and everywhere you went with an England shirt you got mobbed. It was unique."
Luckily for England and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, Beckham - though not fully fit - recovered in the nick of time and scored the winning penalty against Argentina as they cruised to a quarter-final meeting with Brazil. Unfortunately, as Mills testifies, they were no match for the eventual winners, despite the Brazilians being down to 10 men for more than half an hour.
"Brazil were technically far superior to us," adds Mills. "We didn't have the knowledge and the ability to break them down. The disappointing thing for me is that we didn't give it an old-fashioned 10-15 minutes where we threw everything at them."
The tame manner of England's exit was summed up by Gareth Southgate's post-match comments about Eriksson's half-time teamtalk. "We were expecting Winston Churchill and instead got Iain Duncan Smith," he said, referring to the then Conservative Party leader and self-confessed "quiet man" of British politics.
Martin Keown agrees that Eriksson misjudged the situation: "I always rated Sven's approach because he didn't let emotion get in the way, but something was missing at half-time against Brazil. There was no Churchillian-like speech and we needed it."
Ronaldinho's 'did he mean it?' free-kick that floated over David Seaman had earned Brazil a last-four berth and Ronaldo - rapidly making up for lost time after some injury-ravaged seasons and the horror of the 1998 World Cup final- struck the winner against the Turks to book another final spot.
As redemption in the eyes of his people beckoned, the man they call O Fenomeno laid to rest the ghost of Paris. He twice slotted past Germany's Golden Ball winner Oliver Kahn to earn the Brazilians their fifth triumph as Cafu, the only man to play in three successive World Cup finals, lifted the Fifa World Cup Trophy in Yokohama.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, the Samba Kings once again ruled the earth. But the unfancied nations had certainly cashed in on their chance to shine.
I was just starting to make my way as a journalist (I know, what happened?) at ITV when the 2002 World Cup was on, but what were you doing then? What stories can you remember from eight years ago? On Friday, this series finishes with Bevo taking a look at 2006. I've had a ball, hope you've enjoyed them too.