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The story of the 2002 World Cup

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Jonathan Stevenson | 19:29 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

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."

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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.

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"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.

Watch the top 10 goals from 2002
Watch England beat Argentina 1-0 (UK only)
Watch South Korea stun the Italians (UK only)
Watch Ronaldo's goals win the World Cup for Brazil (UK only)

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.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Not much mention about the fact that the Koreans only progressed to the semi-finals because of some very dodgy refereeing. I don't want to claim anything cos my comment will not be allowed but lets just say what went on was very very wrong and the Italians and the Spanish had a right to be upset. FIFA are always going to want the hosts to do well, especially if it's in a continent which doesn't often do well....

  • Comment number 2.

    And since you mention so much about Beckham why not about him jumping out of that tackle before Brazil scored their equaliser?

  • Comment number 3.

    #1 - ...FIFA are always going to want the hosts to do well, especially if it's in a continent which doesn't often do well...
    Similar to this world cup possibly? current FIFA boss gets alot of support from the federations of continents that often don't do well.

    Shocking world cup because of what happened to Italy (and spain, and Ireland, and USA).
    I agree with keithwellerlounge74. the refereeing at this world cup was awful and another of (IMO) Sepp the Great's many ways of interfering in the beautiful game. (How does this man have a school named after him in Swizerland???).

    Despite my sour grapes, Italy didnt deserve to do well, neither did Spain and dodgy ref decisions always happen (1966 final and 1986 hand of God) and the South Koreans did put forward a great showing. Some would say that they made their own luck by playing such open, hardworking and honest football.
    Rivaldo should have been banned heavily for his stupid playacting against the Turks and not played in the final, His career took a (deserved) nosedive after this world cup and i think he ended up playing in Turkey - last laughs, revenge, just deserts, etc.

    As for the football, There were many interesting and tense matches. Loads of shocks, and the world champions going out in the first round without hitting the net once.
    The USA should have beaten the Germans, as should have the Irish but Oliver Kahn was inspired only to lose it all with a costly mistake in the final. He was my man of the tournament.

    Just on a side note, Is the 2010 world cup the first where the opening game will not be between the world champions and their opponents?

  • Comment number 4.

    First post and people are already at it, saying that Korea only made the semis because of referees. Korea certainly had a share of good luck with some of the calls but so did other teams! For example in match against Italy several Italians were encroaching in the box when Ahn Jung-hwan missed his penalty.

    Korea played some very good football in the run-up to the World Cup as well. People should google Korea v Scotland and see Ahn's fourth goal (Korea won 4-1) for what was a brilliant combination of team work and skill. Soon after Korea drew 1-1 with England.

    One thing I can say favoured the Koreans (apart from playing in front of a fanatical home crowd) was that the European teams were not at their best given the fact that they were not given enough time to prepare following the end of the regular season. FIFA are not repeating this mistake this time.

    I was in Korea for the WC and have to say it was a very enjoyable tournament. Koreans weren't quite sure what to expect and there was a worry that country would be flooded by hooligans. In the end it was one massive party.

    SK and Japan both played good football and it's a shame that they don't get more recognition for that, rather than people repeating claims about the refereeing.

  • Comment number 5.

    totticiuciotto, in 2006 Germany played Costa Rica in the openning match.

  • Comment number 6.

    6am drinking in the pubs of England to watch our matches. Magic stuff

  • Comment number 7.

    Very unique World Cup, I really enjoyed it as it seemed to be shock after shock. The 7am starts, watching England v Argentina at midday during a extended lunch break at work. I rememeber my employer at the time laying on TV's all over the building.

    However my abiding memory was that my son was due to be born on 4th June, waited until the 22nd June, the day after England was knocked out of the tournament to arrive into the world! In fact I remember getting the call to just after South Korea kncoked Spain out of the WC on penalties.

    But in the end worthy winners in Brazil and Ronaldo getting his redemption.

  • Comment number 8.

    2. At 11:19pm on 01 Jun 2010, keithwellerlounge74 wrote:
    And since you mention so much about Beckham why not about him jumping out of that tackle before Brazil scored their equaliser?


    Agree completely, Beckham was not fit for this World Cup and really he shouldn't have been playing but he was our best taker of set pieces so Eriksson indulged him. One corner for Campbell to score against Sweden in the group stage and a mis-hit penalty against the Argies was the sum total of his contribution.

    There may have been Beckham-mania but he played better at France 98, Euro 2000 and World Cup 2006. He wasn't fully fit at this World Cup or Euro 2004.

  • Comment number 9.

    The year after i got my first job.Needless to say there wasn't much work done.The extraction of a tooth guaranteed me some days at home.Exciting WC even though the stories of conspiracy still exists today.Why do the English players need the manager to motivate them at half time I wonder?Is that a mental failing or something?Funniest sight of this WC for me was Ronaldinho leaving Ashley Cole with twisted blood and on his backside leading up to Rivaldo's equalizer.I remember the Belgian almost knocking out Brazil with a goal that was disallowed for reasons that are still not apparent today.Strange refereeing throughout the tournament and I dont mean just in favour of the co hosts.

  • Comment number 10.

    This was a spectacular World Cup Finals spread over two Asian countries.

    Very little seemed to go by the form book as one by one the favourites fell by the wayside with South Korea becoming the first Asian team to reach a World Cup Semi-Final and an there was outstanding showing by Turkey too.

    Full match details and statistics from Japan & South Korea 2002 available here:

  • Comment number 11.

    Korea were great to watch and had fantastic fans. And yes, they knocked out Spain and Italy. But they did it with a LOT of help from the officials. Italy had TWO perfectly good goals disallowed. And I think Spain had one disallowed. And there were other strange decisions too.

    The atmosphere at the games in Japan was THE WORST I have heard at any matches in the WC. Ever. It was truly AWFUL. A roaring deafening silence. I hope they never get the WC again! It would be the most boring tournament in history.

  • Comment number 12.

    This world cup will always be remembered for the brilliance of ronaldo but te ridiculousness of his haircut

  • Comment number 13.

    The kick-off times were a real spoiler for people back home in terms of generating any kind of 'localised' excitement or atmosphere, but it does make you think how the other-half cope when the boots mostlty on the other foot so to can't complain too much.

    The tournament was run with majestic percision just like Germany four years later but to me most games seemed overly sanitised just like watching video games - I think you had to be there to really enjoy it as per #4..the atmosphere and organisation will be so different in S.A.

    There were some remarkable results as mentioned - Senegal beating France, S.Korea beating Italy and Spain then reaching the last four (first for Asia)..showing anything is still possible in the World Cup. I can definately see an African team reching the last four this time around.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm shocked that you didn't even mention the two goals Italy scored that were disallowed Stevo. It was one of the biggest talking points of the 2002 World Cup, and sadly that's what it will be remembered for.

    Personally I have a hazy memory of it, because the games were on so early in the morning. I would get up early to watch the first game of the day before going to school, but the competition lacked some of the gravitas of the previous World Cup because it was so far away and so difficult to watch.

    It's still difficult to watch that England Brazil game. Always with Sven, Brazil 02, Portugal in 04 and 06 you felt England could have won it...the match was there for the taking but something never quite came off.

    Despite people criticising Beckham for not being fit or not playing well, I remember thinking only him and Danny Mills were really trying once Ronaldinho scored that free kick. Everyone else seemed to have given up except those two.

  • Comment number 15.

    the spain- korea match was in terms of the officiating, disgraceful... i've never been so upset after a football match !!!

    spain scored TWO good goals that the sub-standard referee disallowed!!
    Joaquin's penalty miss that sent korea through should have been re-taken as the korean keeper was about 5 yards in front of the goal line when the ball was struck !!!

    spain should have got to final that year ! It still bothers me 8 years on that they didnt because of the most home-bias, shockingly bad referring ive ever seen !

  • Comment number 16.

    Its a disgrace what happend to Ahn after the Italy game!
    Yes Ronaldo's haircut was a joke!

    One of the enduring moments of the tournement was when Ballack scored the winner in the semi's, knowing that he'd miss the final. Roy Keane-esque!

  • Comment number 17.

    By '02 I had finished my first year at South Bank University but with exams done early I was left to do nothing but enjoy football for the next month or so.

    I was dissapointed that Scotland didn't make it through but remembering '94, was happy to have ROI as my 2nd team.

    Starting during Euro 2000 I had also been getting into the habit of watching England matches down the pub. Pub of choice back then was The Anglers in Teddington. However given the early kickoff times well...7am seemed a bit early to be down the pub.

    England were on a crest of a wave with everyone bowing down to Sven at this point. However we were drawn in what looked like a nightmare group and I seriously thought we'd wind up going out in the 2nd round to France after being beaten by the Argies in the group stages. The Argies would go on to face France in the final with Japan also doing reasonably well.

    The Irish in the meantime...well I sympathised with Keano but he can't seriously have thought his guys had a chance of winning the tournament. Still, my first impression of that incident was that the men in green had shot themselves in the foot by ditching him. They went on to do pretty well though, out on pens in the 2nd round was no disgrace.

    As for the rest of the action well, I remember meaning to watch France vs Senegal 1st time around but didn't actually watch it. This is the first time I've seen much footage of that match. I initially had it down as an eyebrow raising fluke. It turned out to be the 1st act of he Twilight Zone World Cup.

    As for England well I watched the Sweden game at home on a Saturday morning I think it was with my Grandma(my mates hadn't returned from Uni yet). Came away fairly dissapointed and more worried about the Argies than ever.

    For the Argie game well lunchtime kickoff meant that it was off to the pub. Teddington mates still not back meant that I decided to haul myself back to SBU and watch the game at the Student Union bar there and see who turned up. The match...well, nothing short of magical. The fact that we managed to hold on...I actually wound up writing a song parody about it. Place was buzzing for the rest of the day.

    For the 3rd match vs Nigeria my best mate was back in town and with an early kickoff we decided to overnight at his place before munching breakfast while watching the match...which wasn't really worth getting up early for. Still we were through to the knockout stages...which was more than could be said for the Argies! Or France for that matter.

    Or Portugal. Italy only scrapped in by the skin of their teeth. Germany didn't look that strong either(well they wouldn't - this was the same team we'd beaten 5-1 away in the qualifiers!). USA vs Mexico was a 2nd round game for crying out loud.

    Our 2nd round match was vs Denmark. Having survived the Twilight Zone so far we were suddenly in business. Now it was time to visit what turned out to be a chocka Anglers. The Danes were absolutely outclassed! Slight problem, we now had to deal with Brazil.

    This brings me to my biggest bugbear of the entire tournament. Sven was a good coach. We had a quality team. Out of all the sides in the '02 quarter final fineup who else other than Brazil could have beaten us. Given Germany's path through the tournament we'd have made the final, no questions asked.

    So, England vs Brazil very much felt like a virtual final and with the early kickoff it meant doing B+B with my best mate again. Leading against Brazil was awesome but what can I say, in the end we were beaten fair and square. I was and still am very satisfied with how that tournament went for England other than the irony of who we wound up facing in the quarters given the circumstances.

    Other memories from the tournament:

    Spluttering into my breakfast cereal after a Brazil goal vs Costa Rica.
    Supporting Japan vs Russia.
    Explaining what "jammy" meant to a US friend only just getting into football/soccer.
    Being stunned at both Turkey's and South Korea's progress.
    Being very happy at England fans seemingly ditching their hooligan rep once and for all.
    My best mate putting on a US accent after England vs Brazil in saying that he was now going to support the US vs Germans.

    The latter stages? Well, I watched the Germany vs South Korea semi though that turned out to be a straightforward German win.

    Watched the final with best mate. Not an awesome match but Brazil very much outclassed a German side that should never have been anywhere near the final(and it was a final - any reason why it's not linked here?). The best team definately won here and Ronaldo deserved his redemption.

  • Comment number 18.

    Perhaps the poorest World Cup in living memory. So many of the Worlds best players were underperforming and jaded. England were typical England hard to beat but lacking creativity.

  • Comment number 19.

    Trevor Sinclair!!!!....brilliant!

    ......i remember being ridiculously happy for Becks when he scoreD that penalty, his face said it all!
    Still a little bitter that we never threw everything at the 10 man Brazilians, would like to see how differently Capello would react in the same circumstances, we should have gona all out to try and steal that game. But that was Sven for ya!

  • Comment number 20.

    In terms of quality this WC was found wanting due to the lack of rest between the Euro season and its beginning (something like 8 days!) Zidane injured himself and appeared only in France`s 3rd game but couldnt save them. Figo was carrying a dodgy ankle injury, Totti started well vs Ecuador, hit a post against Croatia and was disappointing against Mexico but against Korea started to show flashes of brilliance till he was sent off for being fouled. An absolute joke. Although Vieri would later miss an open goal, they should have been through already. Indeed Korea should have bowed out if not there then definetly to Spain. Yes Korea were magnificent in terms of desire and stamina and organisation but in all honesty the ref`s were a disgrace. Joaquin`s cross wasnt even on the byeline let alone behind it when Morientes headed in!
    At this time in my life i`d just moved into my first house, my now ex girlfriend was away at Uni and i decided to take the whole world cup off to be able to watch the games. Luckily the nature of my shift allowed so i didnt use up all my holiday. Upon my return to work i had a new boss who had decided they wanted me out which was nice. I blame it on arriving late due to watching the Brazilians win the final and celebrate witha mass prayer on the pitch.
    What made the world cup strangely satisfying was the Ronaldo story. A great player retuns to the pinnacle from the abyss. This world cup may have cost me my job eventually but hey it was worth it to see the buck toothed one come through and be redeemed!

  • Comment number 21.

    This was the WC where they tried using third world refs in the latter stages of the tournament and it badly failed. Of course SKorea benefitted heavily from the abysmal performance of these refs against Spain (disgraceful) and Italy (absolutely disgraceful).

    Had a Skorean pal and try telling her that the refs were poor!!

    The age of Sven! Laughed my socks off after all the e-mails from my work pals telling me how this guy would mean that England would win the cup. Apparently he was a tactical mastermind! Unfortunately Sven got enthralled by the mindless celebrity of Becks..and then there was Seaman! Remember listening to the end of the England/ Brazil game on the radio in a taxi in Glasgow. All were happy!

  • Comment number 22.

    I can remember tipping Portugal to go all the way. After they were robbed at euro 2000 I was convinced that this was the moment for their golden generation of Figo, Rui Costa, Conceicao, Pinto etc.

    They were my favourite other team at the time (before Ronaldo) and I expected them to cruise through their group, especially against the USA. The US scored early on through a scramble from a corner and my thoughs were 'ok, just a blip', then Portugal scored an own goal and I thought 'as long as they don't get a third portugal are still in this game' then McBride scored a header and I just sat in silence.

    I'm suprised there hasn't been a mention of the USA's great run to the quarter finals. They could very easily have beaten Germany but for some reason the officials didn't see Torsten Frings slap the ball of the line. It was overshadowed by the decisions in the Korea-Spain match the next day.

  • Comment number 23.

    Probably my favourite ever World Cup. Despite England failing once more (yes, I am used to it now!), there were surprises all over the place. It was brilliant to see nations you wouldn't normally expect in the latter stages, particularly the Hiddink led South Koreans.

  • Comment number 24.

    very strange you dont mention that belgium got robbed against brazil
    they were the only that actually gave brazil a real fight and we still feel sour about that referee (who did business with brazil and argentina, only the fifa would allow him to referee matches off brazil, must have made quite some money of disallowing that goal)

    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."

    i dont get that; you see a country supposedly inferior to yours give brazil a hell of a time and you still dont think you have a chance?
    i think it all came down to mentality and the will to fight

  • Comment number 25.

    Being 16, this was the first World Cup I fully experienced. I remember getting sent home to watch the Argentina match and watching the crushing defeat to Brazil around a small portable TV in my primary. I can fully picture Beckham backing out of THAT tackle, the Ronaldinho free kick. It was a great tournament, probably better than 2006.

  • Comment number 26.

    One of the main features of these finals was the breakfast and lunch time kick offs for fans in the UK because of the time differences. It's funny to look back at this article written just after Euro 2000 wondering how fans would cope.

    In 2002 I was living and working in Belfast and my employer allowed staff some grace about coming in in the morning and put a big screen up in the canteen so we could see the lunchtime games. One of my best meories of the tournament is the whole canteen roaring with laughter when Trapattoni lost the plot against Korea and pounded the back of the coaches' box!!

    For Ireland fans the build up was disturbed by Roy Keane walking out on the time (let's not got over the reasons for it again!) Ireland's first game was on the first Saturday against Cameroon. My mate's stag weekend was on in Liverpool that weekend so we watched the game in a pub in Newry at 7am, when it really shouln't have been open! There had been a lot of division over Keane but a lot of that was ended when RTE analyst, and Keane's biographer, Eamon Dunphy went on TV wearing a green jacket with red tie and basically said he wanted Ireland to get beaten! Ireland started very poorly and Cameroon took an early lead, in the second half Ireland finally got it together and soon after the restart Matt Holland drilled a shot into the bottom corner to equalise. After that Ireland totally dominated the game and were unlucky to win when Robbie Keane hit the inside of the post with a curling shot. At full time we piled on to the coach for the ferry and didn't get to bed in Liverpool until about 4am, most of us then got up for the England-Sweden match at 6am that Sunday!

    The Ireland-Germany game was another good match, again Ireland conceeded early only for Keane to equalise rifght at the death, afterwards Mick McCarthy gave one of my all time favourite football quotes "You don't know what it's like to be out there with your backside in the bacon slicer!!" Ireland then easily beat the Saudis 3-0 to set up a last 16 match with Spain. I watched this game in the Botanic Inn in Belfast on a Sunday lunchtime, the Spanish manager Comacho used to raise his arms up whenever a decision went against his team and revealed 2 huge wet spots on his armpits! This soon resulted in the chant of "B-O!! B-O!!" going up around the pub whenever he came on the screen!! The game was another nerve wracker, again chasing the game, Ireland got a penalty in the second half only for Kilbane I think to have the shot saved by Casillas and then with an open goal he shinned the rebound wide! Unbelieveably we got a penalty right at the end and Keane made no mistake! In extra time CLinto Morrison spurned a chance to win it and we went out on penalties!! It's never easy supporting Ireland!!

    After this I wanted Spain to win it as they were a very good team, (wasn't this the tournament that Canizares missed after he dropped a bottle of aftershave on his foot?!) but they were the victim of truly disgraceful officiating against Korea, especially Morientes' disallowed goal. I know how much their achievements that year mean to Korean people but I find it difficult to acknowledge that.

    OK I'm probably going to cause a row here with the England fans but Owen's dive against Argentina was totally blatant yet there was hardly any mention of it on TV or in the papers. Robert Pires and Eduardo have both been villified for diving yet whenever an English player does it, it doesn't seem to matter. As far as some English journalists are concerned only Johnny Foreigner cheats! Having said that England did have probably their best team since Italia 90, Nicky Butt had a great tournament in midfield, how you wish you had a holding player of his quality now! Obviously it all went wrong against Brazil, firstly when a clearly unfit Beckham jumped out of a challenge and Brazil broke upfield to score and then when Seaman lost the flight of the ball just as he had done against Zaragoza 7 years earlier. The disappointing thing was the way England just seemed to lose interest after that goal and that was down to Eriksson. Another great quote from that WC was I think Gareth Southgate's opinion on ESven's HT team talk "We needed to hear Winston Churchill and we got Ian Duncan-Smith!!"

    Another game that stood out for me was the USA-Mexico in the last 16. The Americans had a very good team that year and when they went 2-0 the Mexicans just lost the plot totally and targeted Cobi Jones for some truly savage tackles!!

    I would say Brazil were easily the best team, despite Rivaldo's disgraceful dive against Turkey in the opening game, they beat Costa Rica 5-2 in a game which featured some magical football from both sides. That forward line of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho has to be the best I've ever seen, with Gilberto holding the midfield together and the goalie Marcos who used to pray at the start and end of each half!!

    Very deserving winners!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Instead of leaving a job (like in '98), this time I persuaded my company to give me the month off unpaid.

    Memories include:

    - Robbie Keane scoring that last minute winner v Germany and going mental in a near empty bar in Birmingham with my mates who were all on lunch
    - Standing outside my local at 6.30am for the Ireland v Cameroon game and being half-lashed by 10.30am
    - Uruguay skinhead (Rodriguez??) scoring a brilliant juggle and volley goal (am sure this was the same day as the above but it got a bit hazy...)
    - 'Borrowing my girlfriend's keys to her Ma's and staying there for 3 days (whilst they were away) watching non-stop football and then being stung by a rogue wasp in her bed during Mexico v Italy
    - England v Nigeria being possibly the worst (and only) game I have ever had the misfortune to stay up all night for...5.30am kick off????

    Have really enjoyed reading these blogs and stirring up a few memories.

  • Comment number 28.

    I loved this world cup so much, being irish and watching the Germany game in a new york bar at 7am, the whole place full of drunk people went balistic when robbie keane got the last min equalizer the whole place went crazy,
    it still gives me chills.

    England had the beating of Brazil, going 1-0 up, Did ronaldino not trick cashley with a stepover to set up the winner.

    Great WC, full of shocks, shame about the time difference tho, was a pain in the face.

  • Comment number 29.

    My favourite moment of all in all world cups, seeing as i was too young to remember italia 1990 was Robbie Keane's late goal against Germany to give hopes of qualifying. Of coarse then came the worst moment of the world cup the game against Spain and Ian Harte steps up for a penalty which was taking tamely and the add insult to injury the rebound falls to Kevin Kilbane and in the words of my father "How the **** did he miss that" followed by some more obscenities

  • Comment number 30.

    Hey Stevo where's the top 10 goals from this World Cup?

  • Comment number 31.

    Something else that stood out about this WC for me was the BBC's pre-tournament trailer, a manga animation with the opening line "Great heroes will travel to the East..." and the main part of it was set to the guitar riff from Kashmir. It was seriously cool and was far better than the actual theme!

    Any chance you could dig it out?!

  • Comment number 32.

    For me this world cup will always be remembered for the fact that i was able to drink legally for the first time at any world cup. Many of the games were shown at stupid o'clock in the morning, so i'd be waking up a even earlier and getting drunk to watch the games. all except the brazil vs england game. which was on whilst i was at work. in a factory. I managed to convince my boss to let me go for fag breaks for every five minutes of work i did, in tandem with my mate. he'd come back with the score and any info, and i'd go have my turn in front of the box. happy days...

  • Comment number 33.

    #30 Exactly! Couldn't you find 10 decent goals?

  • Comment number 34.

    My first live world cup, I was 10 years old! And I rememba watching England vs Brazil live at 7am in the mornin at school (they let us watch it lol) and wen Ronaldinho danced thru the England defence 2 set up Rivaldo...and cmon that free kick was meant entirely...we all know what a player Ronaldinho turned out to be, 1 of the gr8test of all time so if u look at how he struck that ball in the 1/4 final..a player of that quality doesnt mis hit a ball like that!!...and Ronaldo with tha triangle on his head - destroying every1 ....Italy and Spain both cheated by dodgy refereeing decisions and France crashed was a Poor/Great World Cup!!!!!! lool in respect that the big teams went out but still lots of goals and moments...I hope the best 8 teams in the world are in 2010 WC 1/4 finals!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    I'll always remember the 2002 World Cup as a lost opportunity for Ireland. A fully committed Roy Keane could have been enough to beat Cameroon, Germany and Spain. If the Irish team had gotten past Spain on penalties, then they would have faced S. Korea which, host nation or not, were definitely beatable by an Irish team, with or without Keane. Germany in the semis, which had already been held in the group stages, so you just never know. It was the making of the other Keane though - Robbie's goals against Germany and Spain gave me my best world cup moments to date, especially since they were both in injury time.
    Unfortunately, with Robbie Keane and Damian Duff aproaching the end of their respective International careers, there's no-one to adequately replace them, so the 2002 world cup may well be the best Ireland can hope for a long time to come.

  • Comment number 36.

    Best thing about this WC was France going home without scoring a single goal.
    Worst thing was the shamefully biased refereeing that took place to help the hosts.

  • Comment number 37.

    Was great to see Brazil back to their best, considering they barely qualified while Argentina romped. Spain v Ireland was one of my favourite games, but the Korea games mentioned above really soured it for me. Then ofcourse Seaman and Becks to some extent were made scapegoats and I realised that this country does not deserve the world cup.
    I just can't believe that a freak free kick and a harmless just over the ball ( think how often possession is lost on the half way line) gets so many people angry.

    Still can't wait until the 2006 review so I can rant how C Ronaldo did
    nothing wrong and a wink does not sent anyone off

  • Comment number 38.

    27 Red_Rooster wrote:
    Memories include:
    - Robbie Keane scoring that last minute winner v Germany and going mental in a near empty bar in Birmingham with my mates who were all on lunch

    Memory is a fickle thing....

    For me the moment of the tournament was Ballack's yellow card in the semi. You can see the realization that he'll miss the final sink in slowly, but unlike Gazza 1990, no unseemly bawling, just knuckling down to finish the job. With him there, a mediocre Germany might just have won it.

    Is Ballack the greatest nearly-man ever, or what?

    I watched the final in a bar in Sardinia, with the locals supporting Brazil. It was hot as hell, though an anti-climax as Khan dropped the ball in more ways than one, handing it to a subdued Brazil on a platter.

    To me, it seems somehow the first of the modern, truly global world cups. It was great, especially on the streets of Korea, and Germany 2006 carried on where it had left off.

    Hope SA 2010 continues the trend.

  • Comment number 39.

    38. At 2:27pm on 02 Jun 2010, mr_hag wrote:
    27 Red_Rooster wrote:
    Memories include:
    - Robbie Keane scoring that last minute winner v Germany and going mental in a near empty bar in Birmingham with my mates who were all on lunch

    Memory is a fickle thing....


    Not really. Keane scored, I saw it with my own eyes. Then I jumped up and down. It all happened. Yes, I'm 100% certain.

  • Comment number 40.

    And since you mention so much about Beckham why not about him jumping out of that tackle before Brazil scored their equaliser?
    Ah just such an annoying comment. No one ever mentions that Scholes missed a tackle to or that Ronaldinho was still allowed to carry the ball another 50 yards. Wasn't great from Beckham but in no way does he deserve all the blame for that goal.

  • Comment number 41.

    People complain about the refereeing performances from this World Cup but like has been said, this was the first truly global WC in my opinion, it was fantastic. The upsets, the drama, the underdogs magical stories... It was magic. Then again I am Irish, and it was the first time I was fully immersed in a World Cup as I was too young for Italia '90 or USA '94.

    I remember everything about this WC from the qualifying right up to the worst penalty shoot-out ever against the Spanish haha. I remember the playoff against Iran was on during the week and my school set up big screens in the gym for us all to watch it, that was brilliant. Then the whole Roy Keane thing, I remember being devastated because I was worried about our group anyway and thought without our best player we'd be doomed. But I think that was the general feeling across the nation that our chances had severely decreased, and the lads in the squad rallied together and put in an amazing performance.

    The early kickoffs made for a really unique atmosphere up home, the local bar was open but kept the shutters down and everything, place was packed out. I was too young to drink at the time but my Dad did slip me a few alcopops (strong stuff!) when Robbie equalised against the Germans! That goal by the way is one of my favourites ever, not only for it's importance in the context of the group but also because of Mick McCarthy's reaction on the sidelines, absolute television gold!

    Other memories:

    - Great strike from Mattie Holland against Cameroon and dominating the game from then on
    - Duffer's celebration against Saudi Arabia
    - The Spanish tearing us apart for their goal, only for us to turn it around as soon as we went 1 down.
    - Ian Harte's penalty miss, most unexpected miss for me ever, I usually hate left-footers taking penalties but he was normally a dead cert to slot it away
    - Hierro trying to swap shirts with Quinny in the penalty box before full-time whistle, Anders Frisk awarding the penalty, and the young Robbie Keane stepping up to slot it away easily.
    - Dominating extra-time, with Casillas making some top saves and Duffer hitting the outside of the post
    - Like I said before, the worst penalties I've ever seen haha. Keane and Finnan were the only ones that scored for us, Harte had been subbed at this stage and the misses were Kilbane (awful penalty) and Holland (blazed it over if I recall). The Spanish penalties were no better to be honest but it was one of those shoot-outs that you felt any miss by us would be costly as the quality of the Spanish would show through.

    My memory might be wrong though as I was young and impressionable, so must've felt we dominated every game!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this WC and like someone mentioned perhaps a missed opportunity for Ireland if Roy was a part of the team, although at the same time you can think if he was there would the team have gelled so well? It was a "us against the world" kind of mentality seeing as everybody wrote them off because Roy had gone home. Ah well, magical memories all the same.

  • Comment number 42.

    Ah just remembered, the winning penalty for the Spanish was Mendietta, down the middle, bobbled over Shay Given's foot!

  • Comment number 43.

    One thing that rarely gets mentioned but was a big thing for me was Sven's treatment of the Nigeria game. Instead of going out to win the game and top the group he allowed the game to plod to a 0-0.

    If England had won that they would have avoided Brazil until the semi finals and would have played them in the evening which would have been a lot cooler.

    As it was England took the lead and ran out of steam in the heat and humidity having matched Brazil before the equaliser.

    I hope that if England reach the luxery of qualifying early this year Capello wont make a similar mistake.

  • Comment number 44.

    dalpengi wrote:


    The FACT is that Korea would not have progressed far if it were not for the refereee. Simple. It was not beacuse of their 'good football'.

    Italy denied a goal that was not offside, Totti yellow carded for diving when he was fouled CLEARLY in the penalty area!

    Spain denied a clear goal stating that the ball had crossed the byline, Korea keeper cheating by coming 5 yards off his line to save the penalties.

    Not to mention the constant fouling by the Korean team. CONSTANT FOULING. They progressed because the referee's let them away with murder and by chopping off perfectly good goals from the opposition.

  • Comment number 45.

    That Totti "foul" wasn't a foul at all, it was a brilliant tackle but I agree he should never have been booked for diving, it was a great tackle and he fell as a result of the tackle.

  • Comment number 46.

    That Totti "foul" wasn't a foul at all, it was a brilliant tackle but I agree he should never have been booked for diving, it was a great tackle and he fell as a result of the tackle.


    If you watch the replay - like I just have - you will see that he didnt get the ball. Foul in my opinion - then he gets sent off.

    Anyway the penalty is only one of many descisions that the refs got wrong. I felt worse for spain though to be honest!

  • Comment number 47.

    Are you serious? You just watched the replay? How can you not see he gets the ball? Just look at this video about 50 seconds in, brilliant tackle.

    But like I said, never a dive or yellow card.

  • Comment number 48.

    Guys, sorry for the delay but the video of the top 10 goals from 2002 is now there, so fill your boots.

    Salif Diao's goal = brilliant, and boy did those Uruguayans know how to hit them.

  • Comment number 49.

    Italy were on the end of the worst refereeing decisions I can remember in that world cup. They had 5 goals disallowed in 3 matches, and 4 of those decisions were a complete joke.

    The ref in the S.Korea match was as corrupt as they come. After the tournament he refereed a match in Quito, when he was running for a seat on the local council, and added 13 minutes of injury time to ensure a Quito victory. He was banned for 20 matches after that. So you can draw your own conclusions about the Italy-S.Korea match. Would FIFA really want no home team interes after the 2nd round?

    The tournament was the worst ever courtesy of an inept and competely self-serving FIFA

  • Comment number 50.

    Are you serious? You just watched the replay? How can you not see he gets the ball? Just look at this video about 50 seconds in, brilliant tackle.

    But like I said, never a dive or yellow card.


    Yep he played the ball there - I was wrong about that. I have never seen that angle before - Fair play mate.

  • Comment number 51.

    South Korea were the fittest team at the world cup by FAR (they could run for longer, sprint more times in a match, and covered more distance each match than their opponents), this is why most of their goals came towards the end of the match when the opponents were tiring. People who have knowledge of football know this. The squad was locked up in a training camp together for months before the world cup. Concentrating on tactics and fitness. Im not denying they didnt get alot of luck but every team that gets far in any tournament needs luck.

    My memories of the tournament: I was in 6th form, we were allowed the morning off against brazil, I went BALLISTIC in my local when Owen scored. Ronaldo - the greatest striker of his generation, perhaps any.

  • Comment number 52.

    South Korea were the fittest team at the world cup by FAR (they could run for longer, sprint more times in a match, and covered more distance each match than their opponents), this is why most of their goals came towards the end of the match when the opponents were tiring. People who have knowledge of football know this. The squad was locked up in a training camp together for months before the world cup. Concentrating on tactics and fitness. Im not denying they didnt get alot of luck but every team that gets far in any tournament needs luck.


    Well actually you are denying the fact that the referee's helped them through. there was no LUCK about it.

    The Italy game was bad enough but when you see what happened in the spain game it really was pitiful.

    What you are saying is - forget all the descisions made by referee's that helped them through, it was really because they were super fit!

    People with a 'knowledge of football' know that the referee ignoring the rules is the only reason that they progressed as far as they did. Nothing to do with fitness.

  • Comment number 53.

    And since you mention so much about Beckham why not about him jumping out of that tackle before Brazil scored their equaliser?
    Ah just such an annoying comment. No one ever mentions that Scholes missed a tackle to or that Ronaldinho was still allowed to carry the ball another 50 yards. Wasn't great from Beckham but in no way does he deserve all the blame for that goal


    Agree. You cannot blame Beckham for that goal. He is an attacking midfielder more than a defensive midfielder. The fact he got himself in a position to make a challenge displays his characteristics - his desire to play for England till he can no longer walk, his work ethic on and off the pitch and his work representing England as a player and for the World Cup bid and countless charities. I cannot see how people can blame Beckham when he could only ever make himself available for England and he was picked and he did his best. If you want to blame someone then blame Erikkson but personally Beckham is and always will be the best player in the world and he would be my captain if I was England manager right now and would always be.

  • Comment number 54.

    #5. Thanks dalpengi for the info about the opening match in Germany2006, I was asking out of curiosity and lazyness for not checking myself.

    BTW i wasnt saying that South Korea got to the semi's just cos of the referee's, they were a factor but like I said in my comment, they 'made their own luck' by playing well. Played very well against Italy and they were alot fitter that us. so credit where it is due, and dont be so harsh to criticise an opinion.

  • Comment number 55.

    When i said luck i mean mistakes by refs etc. People are making out the refs got them to the semi finals which is ridiculous. They still beat superior nations by scoring goals fairly and winning a penalty shoot out.
    They wernt just given a semi final place. They still scored 2 legitimate goals against italy didnt they? and other opponents?

  • Comment number 56.

    oh and missed a penalty and some very good chances.

  • Comment number 57.

    I agree, the refereeing was dubious at times and the tournament wasn't a classic by any means.

    But, with the aid of Beckham, it did help to promote football in Asia.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'll be fair, I've been negative so far and now its time to be positive and leave the polemics behind. I didn't particularly like this world cup much. Italy's shambolic performances ruined it for me. I lost interest after that.

    But now that i look back at the highlights and the comments by everyone i have to confess that my feelings have changed. There were many shocks, many of the 'minnows' of world football performed at the established teams expense. Many teams who played very good football were also unlucky (especially if they played germany or Brazil) and there was an abundance of superb goals.
    The top 10 were some of the best i have ever seen, and i remember there being many other goals which could have made the list.

    I also didnt like this world cup because I had to work through most of the matches. No-one in my office liked football and i didnt have net access at the time. I had to sneakily listen to them on a walkman radio. Safe to say i didnt really feel the atmosphere.

    So i want to thank those of you who posted with their great memories of this world cup. It's certainly changed my mindopened my eyes to how good this tournament was.

  • Comment number 59.

    "The disappointing thing for me is that we didn't give it an old-fashioned 10-15 minutes where we threw everything at them."
    This is so true Danny Mills. Down to 10 men they were and we did nothing against them. If we had got through that match we would have been favourites to win. 2002 was potentially our best side of the last 5 world cups. If we had had a fit Gerrard and Gary Neville and a fully fit Beckham, and if Alan Shearer had been persuaded out of retirnement... who knows. A lot of ifs I know.

  • Comment number 60.

    This has been a really good series by the way BBC, really got us in the mood. This article does have a good opening. It does seem to miss out some things, such as South Korea's amazing good fortune from referees, and Turkey's run. I suppose it's meant to just highlight a few stories rather than add a fully balanced assessemt of the whole tournament.

    Worth a mention that of the five world cups I've seen from 90 to 06 Brazil 02 is the only side that did not reqiure a penalty shoot out to win. They also did not require extra time and won every group game giving them a 100% record. Such a record I believe goes back to 1970 before it was equalled (also Brazil).
    This Brazil side was the best one for me of any world cup from 90 to 06.

  • Comment number 61.

    Quite a contrast between 2002, when South Korea, Senegal, Turkey and USA reached the quarters, compared to 2006 when all the big powers dominated.

    There were weaker teams in this tournament in terms of genuine, but it was probably more exciting in terms of goals and other action.

  • Comment number 62.

    in terms of genuine pedigree

  • Comment number 63.

    The 2002 i arguably the first real world cup i watched probably throughout but this one a real intereesting most of the european powers expect for germany suffered from fatigue and tiredness.

  • Comment number 64.

    there is always dodgy refereeing decisions. this year we have henry's handball, in 66 it was a goal that never was, 82 - Schumacher should have been sent off, 86 - hand of god - 2006 grosso's dive against australia (italy went on to win world cup!)

    fifa should introduce video replay. it works quite well in tennis and cricket.

    if you think a ref decision is dodgy, the team manager/captain can refer to referee with video link. if ref is right, you forfeit the right to refer again so a team would only do this when they are certain and for important game changing decisions.

  • Comment number 65.

    The Worst world cup in recent times, in my opinion.

    I was in final year of University, when the WC started. The France/Senegal game was very wierd. At the time France, along with Argentina were rightly the pre-tournament favourites to lift the Cup. France had 3 strikers who were the top scorers in their respectives leagues: Henry (Arsenal/ England), Trezeguet (Juventus/Italy) and Cisee (Auxerre/ France). They never got going in that game with the likes of Salif Diao and the giant Diop challenging for every bit of space, France looked jaded, and as the match dragged on, the French players began to look worried.

    I remember the best headed goal I have ever seen being scored by Borgetti in the Mexico Vs Italy match, where he completely twisted his neck muscles to send the ball backwards and goalwards. There was a period in the last 10-15 minutes of that match when both teams stopped attacking and just kicked the ball around as results elsewhere in the Croatia game had ensured that both Italy and Mexico would go through.

    Being Nigerian, the first game against Argentina was a let-down. Ortega, playing on the right attacking position in Mario Biesla's wierd 3-3-1-3 formation tormented Babayaro the then Chelsea left full back through-out the game. Ogbeche who had flattered in friendly games before the tournament, seemed completel out of debt as Ayala and co gave him no joy. Jay Jay Okocha, couldnt do it all on his own, and he was hardly given space and options. In the end, Batistuta's last international goal from a set-piece won the game for Argentina.

    However it was the 2nd game against Sweden that broke everyone's heart. I had an exam that day and I remember watching the game in the morning. After Ikedia's cross found Aghaowa, who headed it in, everyone around me was estatic. That year Aghahowa had been on fire, scoring 11 goals in total, including 4 at the Nations Cup, and against Ireland and Scotland in a friendly. Sweden equalised and then took the lead. I remember Taribo West's bandaged forehead red with blood, and Utaka's mazy run and drive which struck the bar. A very painful game. Tha match against England was a bore-fest.

    Who can forget Rivaldo's goal against Belgium? The Reds led by the inspired Marc Wilmots played some great stuff despite their limited team.

    One has to commend Scolari for the way they were set up to play, even though I still think this was one of the poorer Brazilian WC teams. Ronaldinho, playing behind Rivaldo and Ronaldo, with Gilberto and Kleberson in central mf ( replacing the loss of Emerson), and with the full backs Roberto Carlos and Cafu given license to overlap. In defence Lucio was solid. Marcos was a decent keeper as well.

    Who can forget Hassan Sas and Ilan Mansiz of Turkey. Hakan Sukur struggled all tournament to score, but scored the fastest goal ever scored in the game against S.Korea. I was so happy when Germany knocked Korea out, because the final could easily have been Turkey vs Korea, which even the biggest fantasists wouldnt have wanted to see in the final.

    The golden goal by Henri Camara against Sweden was also very memorable. What ever happened to the golden goal rule? Pls bring it back!

    The England vs Brazil game was very close, and I believe this and the Belgium game were 2 of Brazil's toughest games. Brazil won this World cup because in the tight games, players like Rivaldo and Ronaldinho created some magic. After the Owen goal, England came very close, but the technical deficiencies of English players showed again. If it had been Germany, they would have help on for the win. Players like Nicky Butt and Scholes find it hard to keep possession, as they are used to the smash and attack frenzy of the Premiership. Ronaldinhos run and dribble, and the crafty side pass to Rivaldo to score was fantastic.

    The final game itself was a let down, in my opinion. Once Ballack was suspended, it tilted the game hugely in Brazil's favour. Germany was a team in transition with young players like Klose and Metzelder, and veterans like Bierhoff, Nowotny, Khan and Neuville. One couldnt see past the brilliant Ronaldo inspired Brazil.

    Disappointing tournament as great traditional teams like Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and Argentina all crashed out early.

  • Comment number 66.

    For me, a combination of the shock results, odd kick-off times, and party atmosphere made this the most memorable World Cup to date. It took place just as I was getting back into football, and I followed the whole tournament from beginning to end.

    I remember my French teacher locking the classroom door and sneakily letting us watch the opening game against Senegal, she was absolutely gutted when they scored their goal! I'll also always remember my dad getting me up to watch Nigeria play England in what must be one of the most boring games of football I've ever had to watch (lack of sleep and lack of interest in the teams, coupled with the insipid defensive tactics).

    Although the refereeing was indeed poor, the shock results and the great giant-killing exploits of the smaller teams made the whole thing a lot more interesting and fun. Just seeing what it meant to the South Korean fans to go so far in the tournament put a smile on my face, I would have loved to have been there and experienced it first hand! This has been a great wee series of articles, really brings back some memories and puts me in the mood for South Africa!

  • Comment number 67.

    Of course the 2002 World Cup was fixed!!!

    FIFA/Nike were still very upset with what happened back in 1998 and Ronaldo/Brazil not turning up in the final,etc.

    So out went some of the big guns due to some very very bad officiating, i.e.Italy, Spain. and that left Golden boys Brazil to face a Ballack-less German team that England had hammered 5-1 in there own back yard in the qualifiers!!

    Brazil are crowened champs - FIFA are happy, Nike are happy, sponsors make millions, FIFA make millions, Ronaldo is the King and everybodys 2nd country wins the World Cup!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Why did the players need "Churchill" from Eriksson(!) at half-time not to come out and give one of the most insipid surrenders in our history? Where was the so-called captain and "golden boy" Beckham. Where was he when speeches were needed and leadership required? It was a farce expecting rabble-rousing from Eriksson and a farce expecting leadership from the risible Beckham but the players should have had the collective intelligence to get together at half-time and remind themselves that this was a once in a lifetime chance that would probably never come again. It speaks volumes for the lack of brain-power even amongst the likes of Southgate that as grown men they were left relying on 5 minutes of oratory from a Swede to get their minds in gear for the second half of that era-defining quarter final.

  • Comment number 69.

    In talking about the Brazil side, let's not forget Juninho. He played the first 4 games for Brazil during which he was easily their best player. After the first 4 games he was sacrificed so that they could play with a less cavalier formation against the big sides.

    My team of tournament: 1 Kahn 2 Cafu 3 Wome 4 Myamoto 5 Ferdinand
    6 Inamoto 7 Ronaldinho 8 Juninho 9 Ronaldo 10 Rivaldo 11 Wilmots

    I agree with no 68 Marsman. If I had been playing for my country in a world cup quarter final, I would not have needed any motivation. Having said that I still think it's fair to criticise Erickson here.

  • Comment number 70.

    65. At 7:15pm on 02 Jun 2010, jchubeta_aBridgeTooFar wrote: After Ikedia's cross found Aghaowa, who headed it in, everyone around me was estatic.
    Not to be pedantic but the cross was actually by Joseph Yobo.

  • Comment number 71.

    France to be honest were woeful and it wasnt a surpise that they were knocked out by senegal as soon as zidane was ruled you could pretty much say their world cup chances were tinted, the main problem as i said before the fatigue and tiredness of the european teams they didnt get enough time to rest but obviously you dont when you have a tournment round the corner in the summer.

    Brazil with the likes of ronaldinho,rivaldo,ronaldo and kaka before he was well known were arguably always going to win it yes they had a woeful campaign qualifation which was a bit of a surpise with the talant they had but scolari was at the helm so no surpise about that.

    England i reckon could have easily reached the semis if they hadnt played against brazil! LOL! i wouldnt say brazil were lucky that game eg ronaldinhos fluky curl over seaman memories !but come on england were outplayed in the second half when the going went tough against the three lions the samba boys destroy them!.

    USA,turkey,south korea and the likes of senegal and cameroon respectively didnt all do too bad and arguably these teams who you have expected to be knocked out in the last 16 or at least in the group stages.

    Overall a very funny world cup wouldnt say it was best but funny !

  • Comment number 72.

    39. At 2:54pm on 02 Jun 2010, Red_Rooster wrote:

    38. At 2:27pm on 02 Jun 2010, mr_hag wrote:
    27 Red_Rooster wrote:
    Memories include:
    - Robbie Keane scoring that last minute winner v Germany and going mental in a near empty bar in Birmingham with my mates who were all on lunch

    Memory is a fickle thing....


    Not really. Keane scored, I saw it with my own eyes. Then I jumped up and down. It all happened. Yes, I'm 100% certain.

    Nobody else seems to have picked up this comment, so I'll bite. I think what mr_hag is referring to is the fact that if Robbie Keane scored a last minute winner, how did the game end Ireland 1 Germany 1?

  • Comment number 73.

    Haha I didn't even notice the word "winner" in there, great spot.

  • Comment number 74.

    Great tournament. I think I'm right in saying this was the first world cup where you could watch all group games live, they were staggered. The times were perfect in Australia. I knocked off work early to watch the first game kick off at 4:30pm, stayed in the pub to watch the second game kick off at around 7:30pm, jumped on the train at the end of the second game and got home about 5 minutes into the third game which kicked off at 9:30pm.

    The Danny Mills comments says it al really, after taking the lead it seemed like England didn't know what to do. They were matching the Brazilians, and leading! Hang on this can't be right, beat Brazil in the quarters?! It was as though they expected to lose. As confirmed by Mills' comments above. Loved the Argentine vs England game, that was the consolation after being knocked out in the quarters.

  • Comment number 75.

    Anyone who knows football knows that South Korea bought those wins against Italy and Spain. I have never seen so many stange decisions made by referees in my life. And I have watched plenty of games over the years.

  • Comment number 76.

    P.S. If you want to know more about South Korean sporting scandals. Look up the 1988 Olympics boxing tournament. There was contest between Roy Jones Jr & Park Si-Hun which Jones Jr clearly won. Somehow the judges disagreed. Jones lost 3-2 on decision. Many agree that this bout was one of the worst robberies ever in boxing.

    I read somewhere that the Koreans lavished luxury gifts upon the judges prior to the contest. I can believe the same occured in 2002.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm sorry to do this, as this is a good blog as ever, but this is becoming an endemic mis-usage, and the BBC should set higher standards.

    "Enormity" does NOT mean big- it means very very bad; it is often used to describe badness on a grand scale (e.g. the enormity of the Holocaust) but in itself it is not a synonym for "Enormousness".

    Again, sorry to be that guy.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    @65 "Players like.............Scholes find it hard to keep possession"

    Is one of the craziest statements I've ever read. Scholes is one of the best passers in European football. His ball retention is frequently 90%+ even at the very highest level and still well into his 30's. He never excelled for England once Keegan went because he had to play too defensively or sometimes out wide so a more defensive player could start but keeping hold of the ball was never a problem for him. If you'd said Gerrard or even Beckham for their propensity to try Hollywood passes that look good but frequently fail then I could have agreed but you need a rethink on the Ginger Prince. He's a master at keeping the ball.

  • Comment number 80.

    @65 "Players like.............Scholes find it hard to keep possession"

    Is one of the craziest statements I've ever read. Scholes is one of the best passers in European football. His ball retention is frequently 90%+ even at the very highest level and still well into his 30's. He never excelled for England once Keegan went because he had to play too defensively or sometimes out wide so a more defensive player could start but keeping hold of the ball was never a problem for him. If you'd said Gerrard or even Beckham for their propensity to try Hollywood passes that look good but frequently fail then I could have agreed but you need a rethink on the Ginger Prince. He's a master at keeping the ball.


    Totally agree. To suggest that Scholes had possession problems is foolish. the man continues to be awesome on the ball even at this stage of his career.

  • Comment number 81.


    - you're being very pedantic and in truth it could reasonably be used in either instance. Stop getting your knickers in a twist over something your not exactly 100% correct about.

  • Comment number 82.

    Yes, it is pedantry, which i acknowledged, however while historically it could be used to mean size, the modern usage is to describe something morally abhorrent. It's like using the word "sinister" to describe a left hander- not strictly wrong, just not what the modern usage of the word is.
    Additionally, to be fair, it is also a usage which the BBC itself advises its journalists against:
    (under "Troublesome words")

    I really wasn't getting my knickers in a twist, i just believe that expecting high standards from an intelligent man working for an organisation like the BBC isn't a great deal to ask, especially when you are talking about a word that is so frequently misused.

  • Comment number 83.

    Japan/Korea was an okay, but not great World Cup. The novelty of early-morning fixtures for those of us in Britain sticks in the memory most of all: I shifted my working day accordingly, to start at 1pm or thereabouts - by which time the day's live action was over. My personal record-breaking day was Sunday June 2nd, when I managed to watch four games back-to-back, starting with Argentina vs Nigeria at 6.30am. I also managed to hone my routine to 7am tea and toast and a half-time shower within a few days. (Drinking Guinness in the local at 8am as England crashed out to Brazil is another strange, surreal memory - though not something I'll make a habit, however...)

    What probably annoys the purists - but what most will talk of - were the many upsets in the early stages of this tournament, but with a lot of the football unremarkable, for me this kept it compelling. France losing to Senegal in the opener and then returning home without even so much as a goal to their credit was extraordinary. The US taking a three-goal lead over Portugal was quite something, while the host nations' performances and Argentina's early elimination also gave us something to cheer. Despite being impressed with Senegal, I still wish Uruguay could've buried that late chance to give us the greatest comeback in recent World Cup history: for them, Rodriguez and Forlan scored the best pair of goals in the tournament.

    On the downside, the refereeing was the worst I've ever seen in top-class international football. (And I never much cared for the Golden Goal...) I don't think I'll ever get used to 'concert hall' football, either.

    Other memories: the high-pitched squeal of Korea's fans; Gazza's ignorance of the existence of 'Sennie-gahlll' until their victory (and seeming inability to dress for his morning appearances on ITV); channel-hopping during France's defeat to the Danes for a far better match on ITV2 (Senegal vs Uruguay); Rivaldo's fake head injury; Barry Davies admonishing Roy Keane in commentary during Ireland's opening match; Germany atomising the Saudis - and then succumbing to Robbie's late equaliser; Croatia's late rally to beat Italy; Korea's even later rally to beat Italy - and Ahn Jung-Hwan's subsequent ostracisation there; Hakan Sukur's fastest-ever World Cup goal...

  • Comment number 84.

    This was remembered for some awful decisions by the linesmen and the referees, especially concerning bias toward South Korea in the latter stages. Again, i will stand by this, this for me is the ONLY reason FIFA wont bring in technology.

    I will always remember being in the office watching the England game and when Owen scored someone said "we'll be in semi-finals...". It was typical arrogance. Then Rivaldo scored a deserved equaliser and we all know what happened after. Brazil fully deserved this cup it was one of their best teams in years, i think.

  • Comment number 85.

    (I'll also add another key point: England's inability to score a second-half goal throughout this entire tournament. This inevitably ties in with others' comments - and several players' recollections - of the lack of inspiration coming from Sven during his half-time pep-talks...)

  • Comment number 86.

    I was at university during most of the 2002 World Cup, and of course lapped up every game not having to worry about work and such problems! I actually missed the Senegal v France game to attend my Gran's funeral - so it was quite a shock when that text message came through telling me of the result! Come the final I found myself in a bar in Bangkok cheering on the Brazilians, along with most of the mixed audience of nationalities. Of course the few Germans there were fervent supporters, but took it in their stride come the final whistle - a great World Cup that provided retribution from 1998 for both England (beating Argentina) and Ronaldo (getting the final right this time).

  • Comment number 87.

    Great tournament - I remember watching teh final at my relatives in Naples, sweating in the afternoon sun with the pizzas about to arrive. magical, and a welld eserved redemption for Ronaldo.

    Will be hoping Brazil can re-work the magic this time around, though sadly without a player as good as Ronny. Can't believe how good he was in full gallop!

  • Comment number 88.

    It was a good World Cup, one of the best. The one in Germany was awesome too, lets hope that this one will be awesome also! It will. Just watched the England - Brazil game, shame seaman got caught out by that fluke, USA did well to get to the last 8, and Turkey did well also to finish third, glad South Korea didn't, the cheating was unbelievable.

  • Comment number 89.

    Look this world Cup was fixed, anyone who doesn't think that is deluded

  • Comment number 90.

    Fat Bloke etc @ 74 - the 1994 tournament was the first with staggered kick-offs (until the group deciders), while 1998 was the first tournament completely carved up by the terrestrials (Eurosport had a lot of exclusive matches four years previously)...

  • Comment number 91.

    I was in the States watching this one. They did actually get quite excited, but didnt really understand what was going on. The Olympics was funnier when they lost the basketball two years later, I remember.

    On the whole the tournament was quite dull. Whilst it was great seeing the minnows take on the big guns, when you get to the quarters with Senegal, Turkey, Korea, Germany (their worst team ever) and the USA the fun is overshadowed by a lack of quality.

    Anyone who criticized the 1994 final as being dull should be made to watch the 2002 event. Yawnsville.
    Any joy for the Brazilians was tempered by how cynically Rivaldo cheating against Turkey.

    It's interesting, as some statistians would say, to look at Sven's record. Better than most.

  • Comment number 92.

    #82 -
    As you are complaining about BBC standards - I live in jakarta so only get to watch BBC world news - Where are the ties? What's with this shoddy appearance of BBC journalists? Kate Adie would be turning in her grave if she had one.

    I may sound like i'm being sarcastic, but i'm not - i really think the standards have slipped - no wonder society is in peril.

  • Comment number 93.

    Totally agree. To suggest that Scholes had possession problems is foolish. the man continues to be awesome on the ball even at this stage of his career.

    Fair point, but no need to get abusive.

    Scholes hardly replicated his Man Utd form for England especially in the latter years of his international career; it didn't help that he was constantly played out of position. It speaks volumes when Pele opined that Nicky Butt, a defensive midfielder, was England's best player. Truthfully, England does not produce those type of technical players that can slow down the pace of the game, and see out narrow leads in tough games. Beckham, and this is no criticism of his game or career archievements, is not going to dribble anyone and retain possession to give his defence some respite. The whole England squad had a problem with tempo, especially in the 2nd half of games. Where was Scholes for Ronaldinho's mazy run down the middle for the pass that created the equalizer?

    I don't see how England is going to resolve this problem for this WC. I would have liked if Hargreaves were available, he is an ace possession player. Why do you think Heskey keeps on being selected. Technically limited, and with bad international scoring record, at least he provides an oulet for the ball to be hoofed up to in the frentic games, so that the midfield and defence can recover.

    Back to WC 2002, who would forget England's best game, the one against Denmark? Great attacking football especially in the first half. Campbell and Rio were the best defensive partnership, in the World Cup. Rivaldo's swivel turn and volley against Belgium was my best goal in that World Cup. I can also remember Sweden's game against Argentina, a very physical and funny game, Argentina was worn down by Scandinavian efficiency. Everyone in football could not understand why Biesla refused to play Crespo and Batistuta/ Saviola (who was the Messi of that season) in a 4-4-2, instead of just one striker.

  • Comment number 94.

    That world cup (2002) was the best one for me as it was revenge v Argentina and David Beckham's penalty,

  • Comment number 95.

    A hazy world cup for me at the worst times of day, the fixtures in the UK meant often morning matches, always a different atmosphere never as good as the game times for WC 90, 98, 06.

    For me its remembered for the traditionally strong teams going out early and a great show from Ireland.

    England looked good initially but then went out with a real wimper against Brazil (they were clearly run out of steam by the time they reached the semi's, no energy left). Italy were poor anyway regardless of the poor decisions against them, although 5 perfectly legit goals dissallowed would knock your confidence a bit, Brazil deserved the victory all the way, I think Croatia were good in the WC too.

  • Comment number 96.

    It was my first world cup, in the sense that I was too young for 98 or 94. OK so it wasn't a classic world cup and the big teams didnt turn up, but my 11 year old lungs nearly burst when Robbie Keane equalized against the Germans... I was on a train on the way to Dublin after a day in Limerick. 20 world-cup-united strangers gathered around a hand held TV, and there was silence as robbie shot, and then we all went insane!! the whole train went ballistic. It was amazing... That is what the world cup is all about. We danced and sang the entire hour and half journey from that moment... The Boys in green. Thats what this world cup is missing! what a memory

  • Comment number 97.

    94. At 11:21am on 04 Jun 2010, Amanda Cerasale wrote:
    That world cup (2002) was the best one for me as it was revenge v Argentina and David Beckham's penalty,


    If this is the height of England's ambitions it's not really surprising they continue to underperform.

  • Comment number 98.

    totticiuciotto, apologies if you found my comments too strong. Your opinions were balanced. However, some other posts do go too far.

    I get upset because good performances from Japan and South Korea get overshadowed by unfairly exaggerated claims that esp. the Korean were favoured by the referees.

    To those people, please re-watch the matches and you'll a good number of incidents going against the Koreans. For example, in the Italy match, one of the Korean players had his *nose broken* by an elbow without the Italian opponent being awarded any card - and the Italian goal was clearly offside (which was called correctly).

    Yes, they were lucky on a number of other occasions, and the standard of refereeing was poor overall, but I think the reason why so much is made of this is that the Koreans are not on boards such as this to defend themselves. They are seen so far below football powers in Europe that some sort of explanation needs to be invented.

    In 2004 I watched the Koreans defeat Germany 3-1 in Busan. This was one of many good results/performances they have had against European nations outside the World Cup. In 2006 they drew with France 1-1 (runners-up) but went out against Switzerland after the referee missed two clear handballs.

    Also, some of you should keep in perspective how some others hosts have been perceived.
    Take England in 1966 for example. Their match against Argentina is called el robo del siglo in that country (the robbery of the century) while a Soviet linesman, one who saw the Germans murder over 20 million of his countryman only twenty years earlier, is given role in the final (England v W Germany) where he is all too eager to indicate that the ball DID CROSS the line...

  • Comment number 99.

    Just a clarification, the Korea v France match was the 2006 World Cup.

  • Comment number 100.

    Here are my abiding memories of this World Cup:-

    Watching England 3 Denmark 0 in Ealing on a Saturday lunchtime. We were 3-0 up my half-time as well. We all sang "Sven-Goran Eriksson" to the tune of "Brown Girl in the Ring".

    Brazil 5 Costa Rica 2. A fantastic match with chance after chance - for both teams. Easily the best game of the tournament.

    South Korea. The way they played was incredible. You rightly mention the games against Italy and Spain, but I'll never forget the win over Portugal before that, to knock them out of the tournament. That group had a competely lopsided look by the end, with the US and Korea at the top, and Poland and Portugal eliminated.

    I also remember a good final, mostly dominated by Brazil, and Ronaldo's brace took his total to 8 goals in the tournament - the best haul since 1974.



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