Ronaldo and Co lead victory dance
THE FIRST World Cup to be staged outside Europe or the Americas, the 2002 finals were also the first to be shared by two nations, with South Korea and Japan earning cohosting rights.
The build-up was dominated by fears over security following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, and it was a sign of the times that anti-aircraft missile batteries were deployed around the gleaming new stadiums.
In the event, the tournament passed off peacefully and the only shocks were restricted to the field of play. Upsets were to prove the hallmark of the tournament from the outset, when World Cup debutants Senegal beat holders France with a 1-0 win in the opening match in Seoul.
France’s demise was one of the most striking surprises of the finals. They failed to score a goal and managed only a draw and two defeats to crash out miserably in the first round, the worst performance by any defending champion.
But while Senegal’s giant-killing run took them all the way to the quarter-finals, the most notable minnows were hosts South Korea, who recorded wins over Portugal, Italy and Spain before they bowed out in the last four to Germany.
A tournament characterised by upsets ended with two of the World Cup’s greatest powers – Brazil and Germany – meeting in the final.
Ronaldo, fit again after his 1998 nightmare, scored both goals in the final as Brazil clinched a record fifth crown.