France V Senegal 0-1

The opening match of the 2002 world cup was between the holders France and African country Senegal, it was a match similar to the opening match of the 1990 world cup between Argentina and Cameroon. Everybody expected France to walk this game; however things didn’t go to plan for the French. Senegal made their mark on the world cup by defeating France 1-0. It was Senegal’s midfielder Pape Bouba Diop who stole the show and put Senegal in charge of the match on the half hour mark. The French suffered without Zidane who was out of the team because of injury. The goal came from an excellent run by El Hadj Diouf, who ran past Marcel Desailly and Frank Lebouf, before crossing the ball to Bouba Diop who smashed the ball into the net.

The French had opportunities to level the score, Viera had a free header which he headed straight to the goal keeper and Henry hit the woodwork, however France were unable to find the vital goal needed to put them back in the match and Senegal won 1-0, France next had the daunting prospects of playing the groups tougher teams, Uruguay and Denmark.

Senegal V Uruguay 3-3

Senegal came into the match with already 4 points and the knew a draw would be good enough to see them through to the knockout phase, on the other hand Uruguay had to win this match to stand a chance of going through to the second round.

After 19 minutes from the start of the game, Senegal were awarded a penalty kick, as Fabian Carini brought down Senegal striker El Hadj Diouf and Khalilou Fadiga held his nerve and converted the penalty into the back of the net. Papa Boube Diop scored his second goal of the world cup in the 26th minute; it came from an assist by Camara who squared the ball to Diop who smashed the ball into the net.

Senegal scored their third goal in the 38th minute; however the goal should have been disallowed as Diop appeared offside when he volleyed in a cross through the underside of the bar.

Uruguay came on fully refreshed in the second half and it only took them twenty seconds to score and put them back in the match, as Morales tapped the ball into the net to make it 3-1.

Uruguay kept putting pressure on the Africans, there second goal came in the 69th minute, through an incredible volley by Diego Forlan. Forlan had few opportunities to equalize for Uruguay however with two minutes left of the match Uruguay were awarded a penalty and Recoba scored the penalty to put Uruguay on level terms. During injury time, Morales missed a golden opportunity to win the match for Uruguay as he headed wide from only two yards. Senegal were through to the knockout phase with 5 points and Uruguay were left to reel what might have been.

Germany V Saudi Arabia 8-0

Germany were very poor in the European Championships in 2000, and wanted people to forget about there disastrous performance in that competition. They came into the tournament not in the best form, they had lost 5-1 to England in the qualifying round and some people thought they may not even make it past the group phase. However they couldn’t have started off the world cup any better than they did against Saudi Arabia. Germany recorded there biggest ever win in the world cup finals, hitting 8 goals into the Saudi Arabian net and made sure everyone knew they were a force to be reckoned with in this tournament. German striker Klose opened up the scoring with a goal in the 20th minute with a header. Klose few minutes later doubled the German lead heading in a cross by Ballack. The third German came by another header, this time by Michael Ballack. Jancker scored Germany’s fourth goal just before the half time interval, which really already confirmed victory for Germany. The Germans came into the second half hoping to score even more goals and they did. Klose completed his hat-trick in the 69th minute to put the Germans 5-0 in front. Linke made it 6-0 for the Germans and then German substitute Oliver Bierhoff scored Germany’s seventh goal. Schnieder completed the rout for Germany in injury time which made it 8-0, Germany now had a new confidence which they could bring into the rest of their matches.

Argentina V England 0-1

England were looking to avenge Argentina’s victory over them in the 1986 World cup and their victory in the second round of the world cup in France in 1998. England’s game didn’t go according to plan as they lost midfielder Owen Hargreaves through injury in the opening 20 minutes. Owen nearly gave England the lead after 20 minutes however his shot hit the post. Just before the half time interval Mauricio Pochettino tripped Michael Owen in the penalty box and England were awarded a penalty. Beckham had the responsibility of taking the penalty, and he took it with power and precision to give England a half time lead. England had a number of chances in the second half to seal the victory, Beckham saw one of his shot go wide of the post.

Teddy Sheringham volleyed the ball from a cross by Paul Scholes, however the Argentine keeper spectacularly saved the shot. Sheringham then squandered another golden opportunity few minutes later. Argentina put England under pressure in the final ten minutes and David Seamen made a couple of fine saves to ensure England won this match, and place them top of the group knowing that they only need a point in their final match against Nigeria to ensure they go through to the knock out phase.

Brazil V Turkey 1-0

These two teams met in the group phase where Brazil beat Turkey 2-1. Brazil had been excellent throughout the tournament winning all their games emphatically and Turkey had certainly defied their critics. Turkey had improved as the tournament went on especially after their opening game defeat by the Brazilians.

The Turks created the first opening of the game; Alpayozalan’s header was saved well by the Brazilian keeper. Brazil then took control of the game with a spell of brilliant football, Rivaldo created few excellent opportunities which were well saved by the Turkish keeper Rustu. Both Ronaldo and Rivaldo had great opportunities to give Brazil the lead; however Rustu made two more excellent saves to keep the match all square. Turkey still created chances on the counter attack. Yildiray Basturk and Hasan Sas were causing problems for the Brazilian defence.

After the half time interval, Brazil continued attacking and Ronaldo gave the Brazilians the lead into the first five minutes of the second half. He received the ball from teammate Gilberto Silva and ran past the Turkish defence, he then toe-poked the ball past the Turkish keeper to give Brazil the lead.

Brazil created more openings after Ronaldo’s goal and substitute Luizao could have scored a second for Brazil on a couple of occasions.

Brazil’s victory meant that they were going into their third consecutive world cup final.

Italy V South Korea 1-2

After three good performances in their opening matches, the hosts fancied themselves against the Italians. Italy started the match the brighter team, and they took the lead in the 18th minutes through a Christien Viere. After that the Italians were playing more defective football and still were creating openings. South Korean striker Ahn Jung-Hwan, had a couple of chances however the Italian keeper comfortably saved them. With few minutes of the match left, a mix up in the Italian defence allowed Seol Ki-Hyeon, to put the ball into the back of the net. Immediately after the equalizer, Christien Vieri had a golden opportunity to clinch victory for the Italians, however he squandered his chance, and his shot went wide of the post. The Italians began to dominate the match during injury time, however to the delight of the Korean crowd Ahn Jung-Hwan headed the ball into the net, to clinch victory for South Korea.

South Korea had now reached the furthest they have in a major tournament and were anticipating there quarter final match against Spain.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.