Date: May 31 – June 30
Brazil achieved their fifth world title, beating Germany two goals to one in the final. The Canarinha had an outstanding tournament, winning every match and receiving just one goal – England in the quarter-finals.
After losing the 1998 World Cup against France, Brazil returned to the competition with even a better team. Cafú, Roberto Carlos, Gilberto Silva, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo were some of the players representing their country. Ronaldo, who suffered from convulsions hours before the previous final, showed everyone what he was capable of at the biggest sporting event. O Fenómeno scored a brace in the final against Oliver Kahn (best goalkeeper in the world), finishing with eight goals in seven games.
Germany had a solid squad: Kahn on defense, Michael Ballack and Bernd Schneider on midfield, Miroslav Klose as a striker, and former World Cup winner Rudi Völler as head coach. Ballack was unable to play in the final due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Turkey was the surprise of the tournament, overcoming South Korea three – two, to end up on the podium. Hakan Sükür scored the fastest goal in World Cup history in that game – 11 seconds – taking advantage of a defensive mistake.
South Korea eliminated both Italy and Spain in the knockout stages, eventually losing to Germany in the semifinals. However, in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals, the referee, in both matches, made terrible decisions that benefited Korea. Against Italy, judge Byron Moreno did not penalize various fouls made by the home team, and unfairly ejected Francesco Totti. The hosts won in extra time. Versus Spain, referee Gamal Al-Ghandour disallowed two legitimate goals scored by Rubén Barajas and Fernando Morientes; allowing Korea to win on penalties.
France, defending champions, had an atrocious performance, finishing last of Group A (Denmark, Senegal, Uruguay), obtaining just one point.
There were no changes in the format. Eight groups of four teams, with the two best reaching the knockout stages (Round of 16, quarter-finals, and semifinals).
Germany vs. South Korea: 1 – 0
Goals: Michael Ballack 75′
Brazil vs. Turkey: 1 – 0
Goals: Ronaldo 49′
South Korea vs. Turkey: 2 – 3
Goals: Hakan Sükür 11 segundos, Eul Yong Lee 9′, Ilhan Mansiz 13′ – 32′, Chong Gug Song 90 + 3′
Germany vs. Brazil: 0 – 2
Goals: Ronaldo 67′ – 79′
|2. Miroslav Klose||Germany||7||5|
[Images property of Ficha Deportiva: Panini S.p.A. – Modena Album]