Host nation: South Korea & Japan Games: 64 Goals: 161 (2.52 per match) Dismissals: 17 Venues: 20 Winners: Brazil Top scorer: Ronaldo (8 goals)
The first World Cup to be shared between two host countries was also the first World Cup in Asia – cue Beckham mania and a finals bow for China, who lost all three games and haven’t been back. This was a tournament of shocks: South Korea and Turkey somehow made it to the semi-finals and Senegal reached the quarters after an opening-game victory over champions France, who went out in the group stage without scoring a goal. Sacre bleu! But even they weren’t as bad as Saudi Arabia, who catapulted Miroslav Klose towards World Cup goalscoring immortality thanks to a hat-trick on his tournament debut, as Germany won 8-0.
The finals’ official all-star team was a who’s who of football – Alpay, Claudio Reyna, El-hadji Diouf and, of course, Yoo Sang-chul, whose greatness has been lauded worldwide ever since. Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho turned out for Brazil, too, but many of the other big names of the era struggled to make an impact.
Dario Rodriguez’s stonking volley for Uruguay against Denmark, and Salif Diao rounding off a fine team goal for Senegal against Denmark. Thanks for the memories, Denmark.
Roy Keane didn’t even make it past base camp before falling out with manager Mick Mccarthy and storming off home, spending the rest of the summer furiously marching up and down the streets of Cheshire as his dog desperately tried to keep pace. Slightly less hard-looking was Rivaldo. When Turkey’s Hakan Unsal booted a football at his knee in frustration, the pain apparently shot straight to the Brazilian’s face, which he promptly clutched as he rolled around in agony. Unsal got a red card; Rivaldo was later fined 11,670 Swiss Francs.
Hosts South Korea ousting Italy – Christian Vieri missed a thousand chances, the whole of Italy blamed the Ecuadorean ref, and Perugia’s owner took it out on match-winner Ahn Jung-hwan, who played for the Serie A club at the time and promptly had his contract cancelled.
Oliver Kahn (top right) dragged a poor Germany side all the way to the Yokomama showpiece, but then the Golden Ball-winner’s form deserted him. Ronaldo (top left) capitalised on the keeper’s blunder and Brazil won a one-sided match 2-0.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter vowed never to have joint hosts again, labelling the co-organisation “a nightmare”. The jury’s still out as to whether or not that represents a good endorsement.