The 2002 Football World Cup (Official name: 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™) was held in South Korea and Japan from May 31 to June 30. It was the 17th edition of the tournament. In May 1996 FIFA decided that, for the first time in its history, the World Cup would organised by two countries which also meant that for the first time three teams (South Korea and Japan as co-hosts and 1998 World Cup champion France) received automatic berths in the tournament. It was also the first time it was held outside of Europe or the Americas.
The format of the competiton stayed the same as in the 1998 World Cup: thirty-two teams were split into eight groups of four. Sixteen teams (eight group winners and eight second place finishers) would qualify for the knockout competition.
Korea were drawn in Group D with Poland, Portugual and the USA and after securing their first ever World Cup Final win with a 2-0 triumph in their first match against Poland in Busan's Asiad Stadium, they recorded a 1-1 draw with the USA at the Daegu World Cup Stadium to give themselves a great chance of qualifying from the group. In front of a massively partizan crowd at Incheon's Munhak Stadium, they downed Portugal 1-0 to advance to the second round.
European cracks Italy awaited at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium, and Korea forced the match into golden goal extra-time with an equalizer seven minutes from time. In the second added period Ahn Jung-hwan headed the winning goal to send Korea into the quarter-finals.
Gwangju World Cup Stadium hosted the last eight tie against Spain and, with the game goalless after normal time and extra time, the match went to penalties. Goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae was the hero for Korea as they triumphed 5-3 from the spot.
Korea put up a creditable performance against Germany in the semi-finals at the Seoul World Cup Stadium but fell to a Michael Ballack goal fifteen minutes from the end and dreams of World Cup glory were quashed. The third place match at the same stadium was won by Turkey as they edged out the hosts in a five goal thriller.
In the end, though, the finals saw the all-time World Cup winning country, Brazil, defeat the team with the second-best World Cup record, Germany, 2-0 for their record fifth title. The 2002 final was the first time Brazil and Germany had ever faced one another at a World Cup. Ronaldo, who suffered a famously poor final four years earlier, was the hero for the Seleçao, scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory for Brazil. He ended up with a total of eight goals in the tournament – the most in a FIFA World Cup since Gerd Müller scored ten times in Mexico ‘70 - and won the Golden Boot.