The 2002 FIFA World Cup

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea – the first time the tournament was held in Asia or held by more than one nation. Brazil won their fifth World Cup title, a new record, and their first since 1994.

Group Stage

The tournament kicked off with one of the all-time shock results, as World Cup and European Championship holders France lost to unfancied debutants Senegal, Papa Boupa Diop’s goal the difference between the sides.

France continued to disappoint and finished bottom of Group A, with the underdog Senegalese following Denmark through to the next stage.

England’s captain David Beckham was provided the perfect opportunity to atone for his sending off against Argentina at the previous World Cup as the two teams were drawn together in Group F. Beckham scored a penalty in the tie between the sides to exorcise his demons and help England to qualify for the Last 16.

Spain and Brazil eased through with 100% records in Groups B and C respectively. Hosts South Korea topped Group D, and were joined in the next stage by the United States after their upset win over Portugal.

The Republic of Ireland were another surprise qualifier as they finished second behind Germany in Group E.

Last 16

The shock of the round saw South Korea put Italy out of the competition through Ahn Jung-Hwan’s golden goal. The Korean striker played his domestic soccer at the time in the Italian Serie A for Perugia, and the outrage at this result saw him leave the country to play elsewhere.

Senegal’s Henri Camara scored a golden goal to take the African nation past Sweden and into the Quarter Finals as they continued to confound their critics. Elsewhere, goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan meant the United States beat Mexico in a clash between the North American rivals.

It took a penalty shoot out for Spain to qualify ahead of the Republic of Ireland, after a Robbie Keane penalty in the last minute of regular time had kept the Irish’s hopes alive.

Quarter Finals

A long-distance lob from Ronaldinho over David Seaman was the difference as Brazil beat England 2-1; the South Americans recovering after Michael Owen had put England into the lead in the first half.

Elsewhere, Michael Ballack’s lone goal saw Germany beat the United States and continue a methodical march through the knockout stages.

Spain faltered in their second shoot-out of the tournament as they lost to South Korea after an otherwise goal-less encounter, with the host nation continuing their surprising run.

Ilhan Mansiz’s golden goal was enough to see Turkey through, eliminating Senegal in the process.

Semi Finals

Ballack was once again the only scorer as a German side seen pre-tournament as one of the worst in recent memory secured their place in their 7th World Cup Final at the expense of South Korea. However, the talismanic midfielder also picked up a booking that would mean he would miss the game through suspension.

A single goal from Brazil legend Ronaldo was enough to put Brazil past Turkey in the other Semi Final. This pitted the two most successful teams in World Cup history against each other for the first time in a Finals tournament.


Two goals from Ronaldo secured a record 5th World Cup for Brazil and further cemented his position as one of the greatest players of all-time. An uncharacteristic error from German goalkeeper and Player of the Tournament Oliver Kahn saw Ronaldo tuck in the rebound after Kahn spilt Rivaldo’s shot, and the striker doubled his tally with a fine finish soon after. Brazil captain Cafu, the first player to appear in three Finals, lifted the trophy to seal a redemptive campaign for Brazil, as they had been roundly written off coming into the tournament.

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