The World Cup showed people for the first time the biggest drama, surprises, and upsets. It also brought football’s biggest show to a new continent, a new country, and a new audience. Many children born in the 1990s still remember the first international competition.
Senegal, which was playing its first World Cup, shocked the defending champions France and odds-on favorites to win it all in by beating them 1-0. Most people agree that this is the biggest surprise in World Cup history. This would set the tone for the rest of the tournament, but several countries, most notably Ireland, were already in trouble before the first ball was hit.
Lets Look At The Journey Of The Interesting Tournament
On the small island of Saipan, tensions between captain Roy Keane, manager Mick McCarthy, and the Football Association of Ireland leaders came to a head. This started the second civil war in Ireland, and Keane left the team he had led to the tournament. Even today, after twenty years, no one really knows what has happened. While some say Keane walked out of the team, his supporters claim that he was forced to go home. What is the actual truth? Perhaps, we shall never know.
France could not get back on track after losing their first game. They were knocked out in the group stage without getting a shot on goal. It seemed like everything could have gone wrong, from Zinedine Zidane and Robert Pires getting hurt before the tournament to Thierry Henry getting sent off in their second group game.
Many other groups left the stage in shame, just like they did. Even though they were heavy favorites going into the tournament, Argentina (despite having won their South American qualifying group by 12 points) and Portugal (despite having the much-talked-about “Golden Generation” of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, and others) were eliminated in the group stage. The Argentines were eliminated after coming in last place in a “Group of Death” that included England, Sweden, and Nigeria. The Portuguese were eliminated after losing to both the U.S. and South Korea. This was a much more humiliating way to go out. At least they made it to the finals, unlike the Netherlands, who lost in the qualifying round because Roy Keane was so good in his last big international game.
England’s two most important players in the tournament were David Seaman and David Beckham (obviously). Becks got hurt just seven weeks before their first game in their group. This hurt his chances of playing in the World Cup and ended his domestic season. Also, it made people all over the country more familiar with the word “metatarsal.” Gary Neville was also out because of an injury, but the English were happy to hear that their captain, Wayne Rooney, would play despite some doubts about his fitness.
Their summer would be defined by a 1-0 win over Argentina in the group stage, in which Beckham got even with Diego Simeone for getting him sent off four years earlier, and an elimination by Brazil in the quarterfinals, in which he jumped out of a tackle that allowed Rivaldo to tie the game. Then Ronaldinho took a free kick or cross that caught Seaman by surprise.
Even so, the veteran goalie with the ponytail shed a few tears. Strangely, Danny Mills and Trevor Sinclair started all of England’s games in the tournament. This was because of injuries and the lack of a left-sided midfielder.
So, what about the people who are hosting? After beating Portugal, South Korea went on to lose to Italy and Spain in matches that had a lot of controversy in the round of 16 and quarterfinals. Ahn Jung-hwan, who played for the Serie A team Perugia at the time, headed in a Golden Goal winner in extra time.
After a disputed goal was ruled out and Francesco Totti got a second yellow card for diving when it looked like he should have gotten a penalty, the Italians began making (rather funny) conspiracy claims. How did the club’s president handle the loss? He got out of his contract by saying he would never return to the city. Gracious.During their loss to Guus Hiddink’s team in a penalty shootout, the Spanish team had two goals taken away and was called offside many times. In the last round, the Spanish similarly won against the Irish.
In their first World Cup, Japan made it through the group stages but lost to Turkey in the round of 16. Along with South Korea, the Turks were a surprise team that made it to the semifinals. Germany and Brazil are the two most successful teams in World Cup history, but they were not teams that people were looking forward to seeing a lot in the lead-up to the event. They had to go up against teams that people thought were the underdogs.
Germany’s national football team was in a crisis after they lost all three of their Euro 2000 group games, and their talent pool dried up. This World Cup could be seen as an exception before a major reorganization since a group-stage exit at Euro 2004 followed it. Michael Ballack, the Germans’ star midfielder who scored the goal against South Korea that got them to the final, was unfairly banned from the game, even though he was a key part of getting them there.
At the time, Oliver Kahn was the best goalkeeper in the world. Miroslav Klose was just getting started on his way to breaking the World Cup goals record.
Brazil had the most potential compared to the other teams, but they just happened to be there. The biggest unknown was Ronaldo’s health and fitness. Before getting hurt, he was the most feared player in the world.
They gave a clear answer by scoring eight goals and forming the “3 Rs,” which, along with Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, maybe the best front three in international football history.
Brazil won its fifth World Cup under Luiz Felipe Scolari. A hat trick by Ronaldo helped them beat Rüştü Recber’s Turkey in the semifinals and Oliver Kahn’s Germany in the finals. It was also a story of Ronaldo’s redemption. After the 1998 final, rumors spread that he had a seizure before the game, and Ronaldo’s career went downhill.
The best thing about a World Cup, where “giants” kept getting knocked down, was when one of the game’s real “giants” got back to where they belonged, to the top.