The 2002 world cup was held in South Korea and Japan and certainly did not disappoint. The opening group stage consisted of 32 teams. Group E was considered the ‘group of death’ including favourites Argentina, England, Sweden and Nigeria. England drew their opening match against Sweden and followed that up with a glorious 1-0 victory over Argentina thanks to a David Beckham penalty in the first half. England and Sweden qualified for the second round. Brazil was on top form, winning their opening three matches, Ronaldo scoring four goals for Brazil. Turkey also went through that group. The surprise team of the tournament proved to be Senegal, they won their opening match against the holders France and went on to reach the quarter finals, however they lost to Turkey. The Germans started off the world cup in fine form, thrashing Saudi Arabia 8-0; they topped their group and followed that up by beating Paraguay 1-0 in the second round, beating USA in the quarter finals and then ending South Koreas world cup adventure in the semi- finals.

Italy met South Korea in the second round; Korea won 2-1 after extra time, and booked a place in the quarter finals against Spain, who had beaten Republic of Ireland in the second round on penalties.

England met Denmark in the second round; it proved to be England finest performance of the world cup, easily demolishing Denmark 3-0, Michael Owen featured on the score sheet. England met Brazil in the quarter finals, a 10-man Brazil side, beat England 2-1 with ease, to qualify for the semi-finals, playing against Turkey.

The holders, France were knocked out in the first stage without a victory and so to were Argentina despite gaining four points from their group matches. Portugal had a disappointing world cup, also being knocked out in the opening round.

Turkey defeated Senagel in the quarter finals, which then saw them progress on to meet Brazil, whom they lost to in the group phase, Ronaldo proved to be too much for the Turkish defence as he sent Brazil into the final. Germany were to strong for the hosts, South Korea in the other semi final, the Germans were in emphatic form and defeated the hosts 1-0.

Once again Germany progressed to a world cup finals and Brazil were looking to banish the memories of their 3-0 defeat to France four years earlier in the world cup final. The first half witnessed chances falling for both nations, however Ronaldo was on target twice during the mid stages of the second half. Brazil comfortably beat Germany 2-0 and they were world champions for the fifth occasion. Ronaldo ended up top scorer of the competition, scoring eight goals.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.