Rivaldo - Brazil
Brazilian footballer Rivaldo is originally from
Recife in Brazil. He started his professional football
career playing in Brazil. During his years playing
in Brazil he played for Paulista, Santa Cruz, Mogo-mirin,
Corinthians and Palerias.
He moved to Deportivo La Coruna in Spain after
his time in Brazil and then later moved to top Spanish
club Barcelona for a heavy fee of around £17 Million
at the start of the 1996-97 season. In his first
season at Barcelona he scored a staggering 19 goals
and he led the club to a domestic double, winning
both the league and Spanish cup with them in his
debut season. He featured in Brazil’s world cup
side of 1998, where he sparkled throughout the competition.
He was outstanding during the 1998-1999 season which
earned him the honour of ‘world footballer of the
year,’ It was during the 2002 world cup where Rivaldo
had probably reached his peak; he was outstanding
for the eventual winners of the tournament. He scored
five goals during the world cup in Korea; his exceptional
goals came especially in the matches against Belgium
and England. His skill and pace was too much for
the opposition to handle, however his best asset
is probably his intelligent football brain.
Michael Ballack - Germany
Michael Ballack is now regarded as one of Germany’s
greatest ever midfielders. He made his international
debut against Scotland in April 1999. He helped
Bayern Leverkusan move higher up in the German league
tables throughout his career at the club. He was
exceptional during the 2001/2002 season, notching
up 17 goals for Bayern Leverkusan and led the side
to the Champions league final which they lost to
at the hands of Spanish giants Real Madrid. Ballack
ensured Germany reached the world cup in 2002, scoring
three goals in a playoff match against the Ukraine.
At the world cup in 2002, he was outstanding scoring
three goals during the tournament and leading the
Germans to the final of the world cup. However Ballack
unfortunately missed the world cup final due to
a booking against South Korea which led to his world
cup final suspension. His brilliant performances
for Germany during the world cup finals earned him
a move to fellow top German side Bayern Munich,
he was also voted German footballer of the year
for 2002 due to his league and world cup heroics.
Miroslav Klose - Germany
Klose was an unlikely hero for Germany during
the world cup finals in Korea, he was virtually
unknown amongst football fans before the world cup
2002 tournament had commenced. Klose really made
his mark during the world cup finals of 2002. he
scored a hat-trick for Germany in there 8-0 thrashing
of Saudi Arabia. Klose also scored in Germanys match
against the Republic of Ireland and against Cameroon.
Most of Klose’s goals came from headers and his
speed is tough for oppositions to control. He appeared
in all of Germany’s matches in the 2002 world cup
and won a runner-up medal as the Germans lost to
Brazil in the final.
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David Beckham - England
One of the enduring images from world cup 1998
for English fans is David Beckham’s petulant kick
on Diego Simone in the match against Argentina in
the second round. Many people blame his sending
off as the reason why England didn’t make it through
to the quarter finals of that world cup. However
the four years since that happened has seen a spectacular
transformation in Beckham’s game. Beckham was appointed
captain of England in 2001 and has been an example
to the whole team. Beckham played his football at
Manchester United, he made his debut for them in
1995 and he established himself in the starting
eleven during the 95-96 season. He made his international
debut against Moldova in September 1996 and has
been a permanent fixture in the England side since.
Despite being sent off in the 1998 world cup against
Argentina he still played fantastically well in
his opening three matches, scoring a free kick from
25 yards against Colombia. Beckham helped Manchester
United win their unique treble in 1999 including
the league, F.A Cup and Champions league. In 1999
Beckham came runner up to Rivaldo for the world
footballer of the year award. He helped Manchester
United win the premiership in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
Despite England’s awful performances in Euro 2000,
he was the only player in the England team that
played magnificently well.
Beckham’s performance during the qualifying matches
for the 2002 world cup finals was second to none.
He scored the free kick against Greece which sealed
qualification for the world cup. Beckham played
a vital role for England in the 2002 world cup;
he scored the winning penalty against Argentina
in the group phase and was excellent against Denmark.
However unfortunately for England and their captain
David Beckham they lost to Brazil 2-1 in the quarter
finals. Beckham moved to Real Madrid at the start
of the 2003/2004 season and is going to play a key
role in England 2006 world cup campaign.
Roberto Carlos - Brazil
Carlos started his career playing in Brazil for
Palmeiras, he later joined Inter Milan in 1995,
however he only spent one season there and then
moved onto Real Madrid in the summer of 1996. In
1997 Roberto Carlos came runner up to Ronaldo for
the world footballer of the year award. Roberto
Carlos is best known as being one of the best dead
ball specialists in the game. Roberto Carlos was
on top form during the 2002 world cup finals in
Korea and Japan. He helped the Brazilains win the
world cup in 2002; he scored a thunderous free kick
against China and was a constant threat to defences
throughout the world cup.
Alessandro Del Piero - Italy
Alessandro Del Piero first came to prominence
after joining Italian outfit Juventus in 1993. In
1995 he inspired Juventus to a league and cup double.
In 1997-98 Del Piero was in terrific form as he
led Juventus to the Scudetto. He was out of action
after suffering from a knee injury at the end of
1998 which kept him out of football for around one
year. Del Piero’s stunning free kick against Hungry
in their final world cup qualifying match clinched
them a place in the 2002 world cup finals. After
disappointing performances in the world cup finals
at France in 1998 and a poor performance in Euro
2000, Del Piero was looking to prove to the whole
world he can perform well on the international stage.
He played spectacularly well in the 20002 world
cup finals, he scored the equalizing goal for Italy
in their match against Mexico which ensured the
Italians reaching the second phase. He played well
against South Korea however Italy lost 2-1 in a
controversial second round match. Since the 2002
world cup finals Del Piero has been playing for
Juventus, helping them win the Italian league in
the 2004/05 season.
Rio Ferdinand - England
Ferdinand joined West ham as a junior and made
his first appearance for them at the age of 17.
Ferdinand made his international debut for England
against Cameroon in November 1997, at the age of
19. Despite making Glenn Hoddles squad for the 1998
world cup he didn’t feature in any matches. Due
to his spectacular defensive displays for West Ham,
it earned him a move to Leeds United for £18 million
in November 2000. Ferdinand was England’s first
choice centre back in the 2002 world cup finals.
He produced outstanding performances during the
2002 world cup finals, he was a rock at the heart
of England’s defence in their spectacular 1-0 victory
over Argentina, and he was outstanding against Sweden,
Nigeria and Denmark. He scored England’s first goal
in their second round match against Denmark which
they went onto win 3-0. Ferdinand’s excellent performance
in the 2002 world cup finals earned him a move to
Manchester United for a staggering £30 million which
remains the highest ever fee paid to a defender.
He helped Manchester United win the premiership
in the 2002/03 season and the F.A cup for the 2003/04
Oliver Khan - Germany
Kahn started his career at German side Karlsruhe;
his excellent goalkeeping at the club earned him
a move to Germany’s biggest club Bayern Munich.
He joined Munich for £2 Million and has been there
ever since. Oliver khan’s trademarks include his
powers of concentration, aggression and fierce will
to win. Khan puts himself through gruelling training
schedules and it pays off well. Khan helped Bayern
Munich win the UEFA cup in 1996, conceding just
one goal in the two-legged final against Bordeaux.
He made his international debut for the Germans
in 1995. He was Germans number one choice goalkeeper
during Euro 2000. Khan was voted the best player
of the 2002 world cup finals, he beat off competition
from the competitions top scorer Ronaldo. He kept
clean sheets in the matches against Saudi Arabia,
Paraguay, Cameroon, South Korea and USA. He only
conceded goals in the matches against Ireland and
two goals against Brazil in the final. He made excellent
world class point blank saves against USA and South
Korea which kept the Germans in the world cup.
Robbie Keane - Republic of Ireland
Robbie Keane started his professional playing
career playing in the English football league, playing
for first division outfit Wolves. During the 1997-98
season he established his first team place in the
Wolves side and made his international debut. By
the start of the 98-99 season, premiership club
Coventry City paid £6 Million for keane’s services.
The Irishman was outstanding on his premiership
debut scoring two goals and left the field to a
standing ovation. After one season Inter Milan paid
£12 Million for Keane and he moved to Italy. He
became an instant hit in the Italian league and
whilst playing there he was improving as a player.
Out of the blue Milan loaned out Keane to Leeds
united, where he partnered up front with Mark Viduka.
Keane was outstanding for Ireland in the 2002 world
cup. He scored the equaliser for Ireland in their
1-1 draw against Germany. He notched up another
goal against Saudi Arabia leading the Irish to a
3-0 victory. He was on top form in Irelands second
round match against Spain, he scored a penalty in
the final minute of match to bring the game into
extra time, however unfortunately for Republic of
Ireland they failed go through losing 3-2 in the
penalty shoot out against Spain.
Robbie keane’s spectacular performances for Ireland
in the 2002 world cup earned him a move to fellow
premiership club Tottenham Hotspur, where he has
been a permanent fixture at the club ever since.
Raul - Spain
Raul was born and brought up in Madrid, he started
his football playing career starring in Athletic’s
youth side and he then moved on to play for Real
Madrid. He was Real Madrid’s top scorer during the
1995-96 season scoring 19 goals in forty matches.
He narrowly missed out on Spain’s Euro96 squad.
He made his international debut against Czech Republic
October 1996. His first goal for Spain came in a
match against Yugoslavia in December 1996. Raul
has been highly successful for his club Real Madrid;
he was one of the star players in the side that
won the 1998 European cup.
He was a member of the Spanish squad that played
in World cup 1998 and Euro 2000. Raul was Spain’s
biggest threat in the 2002 world cup finals; he
played in four of their matches scoring three goals
for Spain. He opened his world cup scoring account
during Spain’s 3-1 opening match victory against
Slovenia. He added two more goals to his account
in Spain’s final group match victory against South
Africa. He helped Spain beat Ireland in the second
round; however he didn’t feature for Spain in their
match against South Korea which they later lost
He has been a prolific scorer for Real Madrid
since the 2002 world cup finals.
Hidetoshi Nakata - Japan
Japan’s Hidetoshi Nakata is one of the main stars
of Asian football. Nakata is undoubtedly the region’s
top footballing export. It was newly promoted Perugia
who bought Nakata from Japan’s J-league to the rather
more competitive Serie A in the summer of 1998.
He proved to be a revelation at the Italian club
which then earned him a move to Roma for a staggering
£15 Million two years later. After Nakata’s debut
season at Roma, the club lifted the Scudetto. Nakata’s
strengths include his speed and his uncanny awareness
of space. He has great ability to spot openings
and find his team mates with precise passes.
Japan were hosts of the 2002 world cup finals and
all eyes were on Nakata to help Japan progress past
the group phase. He was outstanding for Japan in
the world cup, scoring in their 2-0 victory over
Tunisia. He also helped them to victory in their
previous match against Russia. Japan eventually
lost 1-0 in the second round against a tough Turkish
side; however Nakata only improved his world class
reputation during this tournament. After the world
cup he was playing for Italian club Parma.
Hakan Sukur - Turkey
Hakan Sukur has undoubtedly been one of Turkeys
best ever strikers. He joined Turkish outfit Galatasaray
in 1992. The goals started to come immediately;
he scored 19 goals in the 1992-93 season and added
another 19 goals the following season. In the summer
of 1995 Italian side Torino paid £3 Million for
him. However his stay at the Italian side only lasted
a couple of months before moving back to Turkey
to play for Galatasaray. In 2000, Galatasaray beat
English side Arsenal in the final of the UEFA cup.
Sukur took part in the Turkish side that played
in Euro 96 and Euro 2000. Sukur’s impressive play
during the European Championships of 2000 earned
him a move back to Italy, playing for Inter Milan.
Sukur was one of Turkey’s heroes during the 2002
world cup finals; he played in all of Turkeys seven
matches. He scored one of Turkey’s goals in the
tournament and caused loads of problems for his
opposition. He played well during the group phase
matches. His excellent attacking ability helped
Turkey overcome Senegal in the quarter finals. Hakan
Sukur also made history during the tournament; he
scored the fastest goal ever scored in world cup
history during Turkeys third place play off match
against South Korea. His goal came just eleven seconds
after kick off which broke a 40 year record.