A Conversation for The Football World Cup - An Introduction

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 21

Witty Ditty

Group E, as promised - and a lot shorter than the Group of Death - feel free to edit smiley - smiley

Group E opened with the 8-0 demolition of the Saudi Arabian team by the allegedly under-par Germans and with the Roy Keane-less Ireland surprising all to force a 1-all draw with African Cup Runners Up, Cameroon. The Saudi team did pick up somewhat by improving their defence dramatically, but only enough to cushion the loss to Cameroon to 1-nil.

The Germans appeared to continue their run of goals by slotting a swift one in past the Irish after only 25 minutes, but for the team who were lacking their star player, the Irish were having none of it. They pressed aggressively forward, even as full time was drawing to a close, and Robbie Keane snatched back a heartstopping goal in the 92nd minute, leaving the final scoreline at 1-all. By virtue of goal difference, for Ireland to consolidate their qualification, they had to win their match against Saudi Arabia by 2 goals or more. For a team which had never scored more than one goal in any World Cup Finals, this appeared, on paper, to be a daunting challenge. However, the nightmare for Saudia Arabia wasn't over. The boys in green didn't disappoint, and qualified as the runners up, 3-nil.

The Cameroon vs Germany was a more bad tempered affair, with the yellows flying about all over the place, and both teams having a man sent off. However, despite the attacking fare from both sides, Germany prospered and sailed through 2-nil as the winners of the Group.

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 22

Witty Ditty

And here are Groups D and H smiley - smiley

Again, feel free to cut any stuff out where you think it gets too long smiley - smiley

Group D

Poland versus Korea was going to be tough, or so the pundits thought. Instead, Poland's defence crumbled noticeably, and the Korean team, buoyed along by their incredibly vocal fans, and the knowledge of their stadium being the lucky one,Busan, the stadium which the host nation's opening match was played out in, had been considered lucky as the national side had not lost a single game in it. An example of this would be the England-Korea friendly World Cup warm-up, where England was the much-touted favourites. Instead, it was held to a much-criticised 1-all draw. sliced through the Polish defence to a 2-nil win, Korea's first win in the World Cup Finals. The fans let their deafening approval be known, silencing those critics who said that Korea was far too staid and uptight a nation to really know the suggestion of celebration.

So to Portugal, who had been much lauded as favourites to win the tournament. Their first game in Group D was against the much ridiculed USA - and anyone who knew the Portuguese team well, including the Portuguese team themselves, thought that this would be nothing more than a mere warm-up game. However, no one had told the US team that. Within 6 minutes, Portugal were a goal down. Come the second half, Portugal were 2-nil down. The all too surreal scoreline seemed to shock the Portuguese into submission, and despite an own-goal by the US team, the underdogs battled on, and remained on top, 3-2.

Korea's next match was against those giant killers, and much controversy reigned over the two countriesBack in the Winter Olympics Salt-Lake City 2002, there was a speed-skating race which resulted in the disqualification of the Korean favourite for pushing, thus losing his gold medal to the US skater behind. The decision was controversial, as the video replay showed that no pushing occurred, and there was much debate over whether after September 11, the US skater was given a sympathy vote.. The 'retribution' didn't really get off to the best of starts, Clint Mathis putting the US in the lead. However, Korea seemed the better attacking team throughout, despite Lee Eul-Yong's penalty being spectacularly saved, as well as the rebound. With so much pressure from an impressive Korean side, as well as the partisan crowd, the equaliser was not long in coming. The 78th minute was when it arrived, and the goal celebration was scathing - Ahn Jung-Hwan doing an impression of speed skating at the corner flag. Neither team could improve on their bounty though, the game finishing at 1-all.

After their shock defeat, Portugal had to re-group, re-focus and win. In a match they couldn't afford to lose, they were to meet Poland, who didn't appear to have done too well at all. In fact, they sank quicker than a soufflé on a cold day in the torrential conditions of the match, with Portugal retrieving their pride and reasserting their authority, 4-nil. With only Pride to play for in the next match against the USA, the Poles found their form a little too late, taking advantage of the weaknesses in the US defence to win their swansong match 3-1.

Portugal now needed only to draw to replace Korea and thus qualify. With the highly partisan crowd providing much intimidation, and the typically speedy play frustrating the Portuguese, this led to some messy challenges. Portugal then lost two men, with the pleading to the ref taking on a new twist as a few of the Portuguese players tried to manhandle the ref into reversing his decision, and seemed to also lose their much advertised talent. Combined with Korea's attacking style, and despite Portugal re-discovering their form in the last 10 minutes, Portugal found themselves following the other exiting favourites, France and Argentina. The match ended 1-nil.

Group H

Japan's first match was against the more favoured, although mediocre Belgian team, and despite a flat first half, Belgium drew first blood in the second. The vocal Japanese supporters were stunned into silence for a moment, but found their voice when Suzuki toe-ended a lob from midfield past the 'keeper. The almost breakneck speed and the attacking play from the Japanese team bore fruit once more, when Arsenal's Junichi Inamoto created a goal out of nothing, shrugging off challenges from three Belgian defenders to bring Japan into the lead. However, they would have to wait a little while longer for their first ever win in the World Cup Finals, when Belgium pulled level in the 75th minute, and Inamoto's third goal was disallowed after he committed a foul to win the ball. The match ended a satisfying 2-all.

Russia have always been much touted as the black horse of the tournament, and went into their match against Tunisia as the favourites. After a first half with no end of chances for both teams but no goals to show for the effort, the Russians snatched 2 goals inside of 5 minutes of the second half; the first from a Tunisian defensive error, the second from the penalty spot, the game ending 2-0 to Russia.

Open play was king in Japan's second match against Russia, with the critics of the Japanese fan-base again being silenced when 50,000 vocal Japanese supporters filled a stadium to watch this match... on TV. Both teams were evenly matched, with Russia still suffering from their lack of marksmanship despite no end of chances. Again, Juinchi Inamoto put the speedy hosts into the lead with a coolly delivered chip over the 'keeper. Russia came close to equalising, yet couldn't hit the target, and the match finished with Japan's first win ever in the World Cup Finals, 1-0.

Meanwhile, in Oita - Belgium met the Tunisians in an uneventful match. Belgium struck the first blow in the 13th minute. However, before the commentator had even begun to draw breath for the next sentence, Tunisia equalised in the 17th minute with a free kick from 30 metres out. The score remained all level throughout the horizontal second half, both teams leaving the pitch with an unimaginative 1-all. This draw meant that Belgium had to win their next match against Russia to remain as the Group's runners up. Russia could get away with a draw to go through instead of Belgium. 5 goals were scored, leaving the scoreline 3-2 to Belgium in a match that went right down to the last minute.

Japan also needed a draw against Tunisia to qualify as winners of the group, and in a packed stadium delivered the goods - nowt in the flat first half, but 2 in the second, confirming their smooth progress into the knockout stages with the score at 2-nil.

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 23


Hi Ormy!

I'd like to join in with the festivities and write about the semi-finals when they come around... if that's okay with yousmiley - huh

Caper Plip (Vote vote vote!!!!)smiley - magic

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 24

Frankie Roberto

Are you going to split the entry up into different pages?

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 25

Witty Ditty

Ormy - do you want to take on the Ireland match or shall I smiley - smiley?

Great result yesterday though smiley - wowsmiley - oksmiley - cheerssmiley - biggrin

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 26


You can cover the Ireland v Spain match if you like, WD! I have been quite busy with various RL commitments this weekend, but I'll try to catch up with the writing and editing on the entry later today.

Come on Ireland! smiley - oksmiley - stoutsmiley - football

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 27

Witty Ditty

Right - done the Ireland-Spain match.... shame about the result, but it was a brilliant game smiley - cry

Against a dangerous Spanish team, Ireland had quite a job on their hands. That thought was vindicated when within the first 8 eight minutes, Mendieta slotted a cross past Shay Given, the Irish goalkeeper.

However, Ireland was familiar with the situation of being 1-nil down, and putting more attack-minded substitutes on the field seemed to set the pacy Irish team alight. Spain, being 1 ahead, sought to consolidate their narrow lead by putting more defensively-minded players on the pitch. However, the constantly threatening offside play from the Spanish kept Ireland on their toes.

Then came the second half, and Spain started to play a little more negatively, and conceded a penalty. Ian Harte's tentative attempt bounced off the 'keeper, and the rebound was booted wide. Despite this, the Irish constantly attacked, their pace frustrating the Spanish. Chances for the Irish were many, however, it was not until the 90th minute that Spain conceded another penalty, which Robbie Keane duly converted to make it a last-gasp 1-all.

Going into extra time, the 'golden goal' situation then took hold. Usually a horrible 30 mins where you have two tired teams too scared to make a move, in this match, both teams went forth and attacked. Spain were at a slight disadvantage with a more defensively-minded team against Ireland's constant attack. Even so, despite some shots coming close to the target, neither team were able to capitalise on their performance.

Penalties then loomed large for the first time in this tournament. Initally it all seemed to go Spain's way, with Matt Holland's shot coming off the crossbar and David Connolly missing. Then the usually accurate marksmanship of Spain seemed to depart from Juanfran and Juan Carlos Valeron as their shots both went wide of the goal. With the fifth Irish penalty hitting the back of the net, Mendieta scored to put Spain into the quarters, and send the trailblazing Irish team home.

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 28

Witty Ditty

...and of course, I meant Morientes scored first after 8 minutes... smiley - whistle

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 29


Phew! The stuff about the group stage is now more or less finished, although I might drop in a couple more links. Sorry it's taken so long - I have been rather smiley - ill. I haven't forgotten your Ireland v Spain bit, WD - I'll paste that in now. Hope you approve of the editing job I've done on your sections! smiley - smiley

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 30

Witty Ditty

Looks fantastic smiley - biggrin A great job Ormy smiley - ok

Shall I get on and write about Japan's exit and Korea's dream run?

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 31


Thanks, WD! Yep, if you can do those two bits that'd be great. smiley - footballsmiley - ok

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 32

Witty Ditty

Right - here's Japan's quiet exit and Korea v. Italy smiley - smiley

Korea v. Spain will appear soon smiley - smiley

Hope you're all well smiley - biggrin

Japan's bright start and promising ascent through the Group stage saw them drawn against Turkey. Neither team were to be miffed at; the blistering speed of the asian side against arguably the best midfield in the world. Although it appeared promising on paper, it all turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.

After 12 rain-soaked minutes in Miyagi, the Turks landed the first punch, and went 1-nil up. While the Turks had found their rhythm, the Japanese had lost theirs, and despite trying to push forward through the viscous Turkish midfield, the match ended 1-nil to Turkey, unceremoniously knocking out the co-hosts.

On paper, things weren't looking too good for the other co-hosts either. Korea were to meet the Azzuri, and it all looked like that the dream story would end here too. On the other hand, Italy were now favourites in a tournament which had seen other favourites being dumped out of the competition in an uncompromising fashion - one of them being Portugal, who were given their marching orders by Korea.

1966 had been a defining moment for both Korea and Italy - the Azzuri were shocked as the North Korean team knocked them out of the tournament, forcing them to develop the 'catenaccio', the highly defensive style of play that is seen today. The South Koreans were hoping for a repeat result, and that was nearly scuppered when the penalty awarded against Christian Panucci, for pulling down Seol Ki Hyeon was tentatively taken by Ahn Jung Hwan, and duly blocked by Gianluigi Buffon. Then, at the 18th minute, Christian Vieri headed in a Francesco Totti corner to hit the back of the net. 1-nil up, the Italians then did what, on paper, they do best - sit on the narrow lead, and play negatively to the extreme.

It worked, for a while, with a barrage of Korean free kicks not penetrating Italy's defensive fortress. The Azzuri looked the far more dangerous - a long ball from deep to Vieri opened up the goal, only for the left-footer to stike it with his right and send it into the stands. Totti's beautiful run which sliced through the Korean defence was foiled by his own showmanship - when he could have chipped it into an open goal, he felt he had to beat that one last defender, and it was duly saved.

It all looked like curtains for Korea as the seconds ticked down to full time, until a rare defensive error from Panucci was headed into goal by Seol Ki Hyeon. 1-all, with two minutes to spare.

Boosted by the late goal, the Koreans started extra time in earnest. Italy looked happy to wait for penalties. Then came the strangest free-kick of the match. Whereas most free-kick specialists like to bend the ball around the defensive wall, Hwang Sun Hong decided to time his shot so that the ball rolled under the wall as the players all jumped in unison. Only a near-miraculous save from Buffon stopped the ball from going any futher.

Unable to escape from their own half, and like the Portuguese before them, visibly frustrated at the stamina and speed of the Koreans. Then came the most controversial moment of the match. Totti fell after a tussle for the ball in the area, and the ref marched up. However, it was not to the spot as thought - it was to Totti; then a flash of yellow, and then having been booked previously, a red.

To digress a little - why was this the case? Prior to this World Cup, FIFA instructed all referees to regard 'diving' - or feigning violent fouls when no contact was acually made - as a yellow card offence, a difficult and not often enforced rule, as per the Rivaldo 'referred pain'A phenomenon in the human body where pain is felt some distance away from the site from whence it originated. An example of this would be the pain felt in a heart attack, where the pain originates from the heart, but is felt not only in the chest, but in the neck and down the left arm. event. On video replay, the last person to touch the ball was a Korean defender - so it was Korea who had posession and not Italy. It seemed that Totti had play-acted a challenge to invite the referee to point to the spot. Whether the referee actually saw the last touch or not is left open to debate. What is certain is that Totti had dived, and although the yellow card was harsh, his actions were a deliberate and desperate attempt to con the offical.

With only 10 men, Italy attacked a little more - then a poor defensive error by Park Ji Sung as he tried to backheel the ball in his own area seemed like a gift to the Italians. Gennaro Gattuso was not far behind, and would have finished the job, had not Lee Woon Jae blocked the shot.

After 117 minutes of time plus extra time, the fatigue was starting to show on the Italians. Ahn, the man who missed the penalty all the way back in the first half, then took advantage of the tired Azzuri. A ball from deep was headed past an exhausted Paolo Maldini to hit the back of the net. Another giant of football had been sent home by the co-hosts, the match ending 2-1 aet.

Italy weren't going to go quietly - in fact, cat-calls of foul play and favouritism were heard from the stands to the Italian Parliament. However, they were still going home.

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 33


Thanks, WD! smiley - ok I'm not feeling too bad, thank you. And good luck with the Exams of Death! smiley - bigeyes

Do you want to do one of the semi-finals? I'd like to write about at least one of them myself, but you can have first pick! Alternatively, I can do them both if you're busy. It's entirely up to you. smiley - smiley

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 34



I was hoping to hop into and do one of them (hints at earlier post 23smiley - winkeye)... namely Brazil v Turkey... but only if you'd let me...

Caper Plipsmiley - borgsmiley - tennisballsmiley - wizardsmiley - magicsmiley - football

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 35


Hi, Caper! Yes, it's true, you asked earlier. It's fine by me if you do Brazil-Turkey, and I shouldn't think Witty Ditty will mind too much, so off you go! smiley - oksmiley - football

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 36

Witty Ditty

Go ahead smiley - smiley I've got those 'things' coming up, so feel free smiley - biggrin

As promised - Spain v. Korea!

Spain's next opponent was the giant-killers, Korea. After France, Argentina, Portugal and Italy had been sent on an early flight home, Spain was now given the poisoned chalice of the tournament favourite. Having had a close match with the Irish and also having a similar gameplan to Italy probably didn't make the theoretical match look too easy - however, they were still a football superpower, and again, Korea were the underdogs.

Since the last Spanish match was very nearly lost on overly defensive, negative play, Spain decided to be a little more open and attack a little more. The Spanish chances were flying only inches from goal, and in a rare moment of fatigue, Korea rarely looked threatening in the first half. Then came the first controversy. A Spanish free-kick, headed into goal, was disallowed for pushing. On video replay, it wasn't really quite clear who was the culprit, if indeed there was one. All carried on regardless, despite the slightly dodgy officating from the lines.

The second half saw the Spanish come out on fire - Valeron and Joaquin's partnership nearly paying off when the latter's shot from the former's cross hit the side netting in the 72nd minute. However, Korea had just found their rhythm too - Lee Chun-Soo's shot brilliantly saved by Casillas.

Normal time ended a goalless draw, and extra time began with another controversy. Joaquin's cross which was headed into goal was deemed to have gone out of play, and the Spanish goal disallowed. Video replay showed that the goal hadn't gone out of play, let alone crossed the line. Disillusioned and downheartened, the Spaniards now moved forward forcefully, with Mendieta slicing an almost certain 'golden goal' into the stands. Joaquin then got a groin strain, and limping and stretching in between passes, he looked a sorry sight to see.

Then penalties loomed large. Spain, on paper, weren't very good at taking pens., as Euro 96 and the more recent last-16 match against Ireland showed. Korea were a bit of a mystery in this department - however, since their domestic season came to a close early to let the national side practice together more often, theoretically, they must have had a lot of practice.

Despite the pressure of the home crowd, it was the Koreans who kept their cool, as the injured Joaquin limped up to take a tame looking penalty, which was saved, albeit with the keeper straying some distance from the line. Korea had left another favourite by the wayside, winning 3-5 on penalties.

Like Italy, Spain were not going to leave the pitch quietly, with some players lunging at the match officals in order to give them a taste of the rough justice that they felt that they have encountered. The cat-calls grew louder, and many suggested a 'conspiracy theory', that the Korean FA in collusion with FIFA had deliberately set up the officals in order to ensure an easy passage through the knockout stageThis is as ridiculous as it sounds because of two reasons. Firstly, Korea are merely co-hosts, and not the single host of the tournament. If this were the case, that FIFA and the host nations were in collusion, then why did Japan lose against Turkey? Secondly, the suggestion that the officials were bribed, or instructed is probably unfounded, as that would mean that they actually knew what they were doing on the pitch..

The bitterness that these two footballing 'superpowers' were feeling was nothing more than a severe case of sour grapes and incredulity at losing to a supposedly 'inferior' team in a world where the gap between the quality of smaller footballing nations and the established juggernauts of football is ever decreasing.

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 37


OK folks - second round and quarter-final sections now finished. Hope you approve! I've written up Germany v South Korea, and I await Caper Plip's account of Brazil v Turkey. smiley - smileysmiley - football

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 38


Working on it... is there a deadline?

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 39


There isn't a deadline as such, but I was hoping to finish the whole thing on Monday.

Please don't get anxious over it, and please don't write too much. If you look at what I did on Germany v South Korea, that's a guide as to roughly the right sort of length. I don't mind if you make yours a bit longer, but if you go mad then it'll only get edited. smiley - smiley

Football World Cup 2002, Japan and South Korea

Post 40


Okay, here it is... not too sure about length though...

In the other semi-final, the samba-shuffling Brazilians were to meet a familiar team from the past. Turkey, who had previously lost 2-1 to Brazil in the group stage, were hoping to turn the tables on the favourites. Hopefully, there wouldn't be a repeat of Rivaldo's wooden play-acting that resulted in Turkey ending the match with nine men in the last encounter. Brazil, however, were missing plucky midfielder Ronaldinho through his red-carding in the quarter-final against England.

This was Turkey's first World Cup semi-final, and their start looked promising. Both teams were chipping and charging, with the Turkish short passing play setting up a chance for Alpay Ozalan at the 20th minute, which the Brazilian keeper found tough to handle.

The partnership between Ronaldo and Rivaldo soon fired up with fierce contempt, and the Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber did well to save a series of quickfire follow-up shots from Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Edilson.

Unfortunately, he couldn't hold out forever. Four minutes before half-time, a creative twist and turn from Ronaldo pulled him away from his marker. The Brazilian hit the ball short from 15 yards and with hardly any power behind it. Recber dived to block it, but only managed to help the ball into the net as he got a hand to it. This was Ronaldo's sixth goal in six games, bumping him to the top of the tournament scoring chart.

In the second half, Brazil could have capitalised on their lead and made it more comfortable, but Turkey fought back bravely, though unable to equalise. At the final whistle, Brazil had beaten Turkey with a 1-0 win, and set up a what would be a dramatic showdown in the final against Germany.

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