wyart lane's world cup diary

    1.6.2002 - 9.6.2002    
    10.6.2001 - 21.6.2002

22.6.2002     Lingering death

Spain really are a frustrating bunch aren't they ??  Just when they have the luck of the Irish against the Irish, you expect them to go on and do well against the South Koreans.  However, this World Cup was never going to be like that.  The officials in the matches saw to that.

One goal in extra time ruled out for the Spanish, when the ball clearly did not cross the touchline before being crossed, left them angry.  Then an offside whistle stopped Morientes going through on goal, while finally the decisive penalty save saw Lee Woon Jae run up to the taker Joaquin and be almost on his toes for the kick itself, left them livid.  Even in extra time, their fortune favour the home side, when Morientes seized on a  quickly taken throw and spun a shot against the post.

The only people Spain should be angry with are themselves.  Dominating the first half of the game, they had the best chances to net, but they could not take advantage of the quiet Koreans, who perhaps were over-awed by the occasion.  That didn't last until the second half, when they pushed forward more and forced Casillas to a good save from Park Ji-Sung.

Extra time came and went with a few golden goal chances, but it came down to penalties and Joaquin was required to take the fourth penalty, even though he had been struggling with an injury just before the end.  It was a good height for the keeper to save, but the keeper was a good two yards off his line when he did save it.  The Spanish youngster stopped in his run up to take the kick, but this has been an unlucky tactic for those who have employed it so far.  And so it proved.

If ever they make a film of the Turkey v Senegal quarter final, they must surely cast Dustin Hoffman or Tom Conti as the Turkish coach Gunes, while Bruno Metsu of Senegal will have his part played by Michael Bolton.

Hasan Suker will probably be played by Sylvester Stallone, who will be able to recreate his great footballing expertise (previously on display in "Escape to Victory").  He would be able to miss open goals at will, just like Sukur, who contrived to be unable to get on the end of four gilt edged chances directly in front of goal.  Even Heskey would have put one of them away.  It is hardly difficult to see how Hakan is unpopular among the Turkish team, as he moans about getting good service and then misses every chance he gets !!

The match was fairly even, with chances at both ends.  Henri Camara stopped the best one, as Fadiga hit a shot that hit the standing leg of Camara.  At the other end, Diatta produced a great saving challenge as Basturk broke into the box and shot towards the far corner.

The best chance was in the closing stages of the first half, when the same Turkish midfielder latched onto a little chip by Sas (or Sash as the commentator insisted on calling him).  Bastruk nodded the ball past the advancing keeper, but he could have no truck with the timely intervention of Daf, who slid the ball out as it approached the line.

No goals in normal time, but after just three minutes of extra time, Ilhan got across his marker to volley home a shot past Sylva for the golden goal winner.  He had come the closest in normal time, when a minute after his entry to the game, he took a pass on the edge of the box and lifted an extraordinary lob, just over the bar with the outside of his right boot.

Turkey have got to the semi-final for the first time, almost un-noticed.  However, there might be an element of grudge when they face Brazil in the semi, after what went on in the group game.

They are there by right, as are South Korea.  Let's hope they grace the semis and the standard of play is up to that already seen.


Quarter Finals : -

Senegal   0    Turkey   1 (Golden goal in extra time)
South Korea   0    Spain   0  (South Korea win 5-3 on penalties after extra time)

INTERESTING FACT : -  In 1990, Senegal forgot to enter the World Cup.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY : -    Why are officials from countries you have never heard of given the top games at the World Cup ??  Has it got anything to do with currying favour with emerging football nations by FIFA big wigs ??


25.6.2002     Marching On

With an almost anonymous march to the semi-final, Germany have exorcised their 5-1 ghosts and gone further than their victors.  However, would the forces of evil in the shape of biased referees rise up to deny them a final fling ??

South Korea had gone further than ever before in a World Cup, so their fervent supporters were joyous, but expecting more.  The early exchanges saw Schneider force a good stop from Lee Woon Jae in the South Korea goal, while at the other end, Khan have to save from Cha and Park Ji-Sung.  The action again changed ends, with Jae having to produce a good block to Neuville's volley.

While he has scored five goals already, Klose might be in peril of tarnishing his reputation with amateur dramatics in the professional game.  His flop in the penalty area was treated as just that by the ref and he was lucky to escape a yellow card.

Despite some goalmouth action, little of note happened until after the break, when Klose started to give the crowd something more wholesome to enjoy.  His header on goal was well stopped by the keeper and he had a chance to score with a volley, but contrived to hit it wide of the target.  A short time afterwards, his substitution by Bierhoff, who's no mug, ended the involvement of the German's head boy.  However, Michael Ballack also lost his head, when he brought down Lee on the edge of the box and got up to find a yellow card waiting for him.  His second of the competition meant he would miss the final.

However, four minutes after the caution, he threw it to the wind and starting off a move in his own half, made a run on the far side and as the ball was laid back across the box by Oliver Neuville from the right, he met it in stride.  Jae again spread his body and managed to block his effort, but luck ran out for the host nation and it fell for Ballack to strike it with his other foot into the net.  While the midfielder appears to be an arrogant player, he appears to be the one who makes the side function, by linking play and driving the side forward.  He will be missed in the final, but it might allow our own Christian Ziege to be restored to the team, after being dropped in favour of Bode today.

The Korean keeper was equal to a fierce Bode free-kick and then with the clock running down, Park hit an effort high over the bar to signal the end of the red challenge.  It looked as if they had finally found a side who could out do them for effort and the South Koreans just ran out of steam and ideas.  They had done their country proud, regardless of the allegations of decisions being given their way.  It was a unique approach to the game that they adopted form the beginning and they played with some skill, not just lots of energy.  Whether or not their players will go on to be a success outside of the national team or outside of their country will be interesting to see.  But Guus Hiddink has made them a unit that takes some beating.

As for Germany, well, you always expect them to be there or thereabouts, but this time, they were expected to fall away quicker than a forward in the penalty box.  Their solid defence has been the basis for their progress and they will face either Turkey or Brazil, which will make fascinating watching.  Both are better going forward than trying to keep other sides out, so Germany might have the chance to hit on the break or might be pegged back in their own half for most of the match.  I, for one, wouldn't like to predict what is going to happen.


Semi Final : -

Germany   1    South Korea   0

INTERESTING FACT : -  Germany have featured in the World Cup Final in six of the last ten tournaments.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY : -  Ballack is hardly the new Gazza is he ??


26.6.2002     Toe-tal football

There was no surprise that in the first 60 minutes of the match Brazil had 11 shots and Turkey 8.  It was always going to be that kind of game.

During the first 45, Mr. Rustu, in goal for Turkey, kept them in the match with a series of saves.  It is sad that he will probably be over-shadowed as goalkeeper of the tournament by the German keeper Khan, mainly because his team have got through to the final.  He showed bravery and not a little agility in denying the Brazilians the breakthrough until after half-time.  He stopped Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo (twice), Cafu (in a move replicating the fourth Brazil goal in the 1970 World Cup Final, but without the same result), Edilson and Ronaldo from scoring, while efforts from Carlos and Edilson both put good openings wide of the goal.

Turkey had been quite subdued in the first half, with only Alpay's header making Marcos work and only came alive after the goal.  Brazil didn't look as though they were missing the third of the three "r"s, with Ronaldinho suspended for his expulsion against England.  The movement and passing were in the true Samba style as they waltzed through the Turkey midfield.  There was a lot of effort being put in at this stage by the European side, but little reward.  Then on 49 minutes, Ronaldo made the defining difference between the two teams.

Breaking from midfield, where they had picked up the ball through Edilson, the ball went out to on the left wing.  A short ball inside to Ronaldo, some thirty five yards out, did not look like it would precipitate what followed.  He burst past four red-shirted Turks and as he entered the box, let loose a shot on the run that saw his shot squeak past Rustu and into the goal.  The shot looked half-hit on TV, but in slow motion, he took the ball in his stride, with no back lift and toe-punted it.  Yes, Ronaldo, toe-punted the ball !!  The power in that and the fact that he took the goalie by surprise by doing so made the shot deceptive and that was why Rustu could only get a hand to it and not keep it out.

Ronaldo had the taste for it now.  Four years away from the biggest stage in the world of football had left him with something to prove and he quickly set up two more gilt edged chances.  Firstly, for Edilson, who lost out to a good challenge from a defender and then Kleberson, who was right in front of goal and could only hit his shot straight at Rustu.  He went off to rest his thigh injury, but his replacement Luizau could have wrapped it all up with an overhead kick, but he contrived to hit it into the ground and it bounced over the top.

With Ilhan coming on for the hard-working midfielder Emre, there was a change in the flow of the game.  His pace and trickery in the opponent's half, set Brazil back a little.  He had a header fly over and then Sas stretched Marcos to touch a cross behind and nearly into his own net.  Sukur had another anonymous game and I bet he wishes he would be anonymous when he returns home.  He did have one volley, but failed to trouble the goalie.

The game was open and entertaining, but there was a gap in class again.  Turkey had their moments of keep ball, but the well drilled Brazilian side made sure it was in an area that would not threaten their goal.  Big Phil might not be popular back home, but he has done his homework and arranged his troops to deal effectively with the opponents, whoever they might be.  Not always as gung-ho attacking as past Brazil teams, but there is a determination to put right what went wrong four years ago and also to make sure that there is no gaps left at the rear when they are going forward.  With Ronaldinho back for the final, Germany had better beware.  They will be tough to break down too, but it might be an interesting clash of styles and hopefully, they will remember that there will be billions watching worldwide and not produce a final full of fear.


Semi Final : -

Turkey   0    Brazil   1

INTERESTING FACT : -  Both teams will be playing in their seventh World Cup Final.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY : -     Was Rustu's mascara running at the end of the match ??


29.6.2002     The Third Way

I suppose it was nice to see such an open match with quite a few goals that will give Brazil and Germany something to live up to tomorrow.  However, when the pressure is off, then teams can play without fear.  Whether they finish third or fourth, no-one outside of their countries will remember by this time next month.

What they will remember is the fastest World Cup finals goal ever.  Having kicked off and stumbled over the ball, the South Koreans presented the chance to Hakan Sukur to score and even though he had a dog of a tournament, even he couldn't miss it and prodded the ball past Jae.  For once, Sukur and Ilhan matched up well and gave the hosts a torrid time with their inter-play.


3rd/4th place play-off : -

Turkey   3   South Korea   2

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY : -    Is it nearly over yet ??


30.6.2002     I believe in the Tooth Fairy

Years of suffering have come to the point where things had to be proved.  Today, in the rain in Japan, Ronaldo did just that.

While the initial approach by Germany was quite out of character with their style of play, they did rock Brazil back on their heels a bit, before the yellow shirted magicians started to weave their spell.

Germany had a fair share of the attacking play in the first half, but could not make a lot of it.  In fact, Marcos didn't have to make a save until into the second half.  But it was Schneider who made the Germans tick, with his probing runs along the right hand side and getting the ball in behind Cafu, who was marauding forward.  The best chances for the Europeans came from Jeremies, who blasted a shot well over and Klose, who could not quite force his shot past a crowded Brazilian defence.

Brazil were finding it hard to string passes together past the energetic German midfield, but they stuck to their guns and the moves started to come.  Ronaldinho twice put Ronaldo in.  Firstly, he met the return pass of a one-two and poked it past Kahn with the outside of his left silver boot, but it slid past the post.  On the other occasion, Ronaldinho lifted the ball into the box and Ronaldo chested it down, but it ran away from him before he could get a proper touch past the German keeper.

Things started to come together before half time.  Kleberson has gone almost unnoticed in this World Cup, save for the negative press he gained for being included against England.  But here, he gave full expression to his talents and got forward to support the strikers and when set up on the edge of the box, hit a curling shot that had Kahn beaten, but not the bar.  Then the Bayern Munich keeper did well on the stroke of half-time to deny Ronaldo again, when the ball broke to him from a Roberto Carlos shot and his instinctive drive on the turn was stopped by the out-flung arm of the goalie.

At this stage, it looked as though it might not be the toothy grinned one's day, but that was not to last.  Jeremies sneaked in unmarked at a corner, to stoop low to head goalwards, but Edmilson was on hand to block his effort.  The best effort from Germany, came shortly after, when Neuville surprised all and sundry with a rasping 35 yard drive that whacked back off the post. It was only in slow motion replay, that you could pick up what a good save it had been, as Marcos got enough of a hand on the ball to deflect it against the woodwork.

On 67 minutes, the Brazilians turned the game around.  Having lost possession, Ronaldo fought to win it back off Hamann, showing that whoever you are, hard work pays.  He slipped the ball to Rivaldo on the edge of the area and he let go a fierce shot that Kahn spilled in front of him.  Unfortunately for him, he also spilled it in front of Ronaldo, who was in smartly to prod past the prone keeper.  At that point, you could almost feel the life flow out of the German team.

They kept plugging away as they always do, but with the goal against them, they started leaving gaps for the Samba boys to take advantage of.  It was only 11 minutes after the first that Kleberson ran on the right wing, played the ball low into Rivaldo, 18 yards out, but he ran over the ball knowing Ronaldo was behind him.  Having been left by Linke, who went to Rivaldo and hitting the ball first time, it skidded past Kahn into the corner of the net.  Alan Green's commentary on Radio Five Live said it all "Ronaldo has won the World Cup for Germany" !!

They never give up though and pressed forward, with the substitute Bierhoff hitting a fine shot that saw Marcos dive to his left and palm away as it looked like it might creep inside the upright.  Then, with Ziege on as a late sub, two chances fell to Metzelder, who failed to make a decent contact with either.  While Bode had made strides down the left in his time on the pitch, Ziege's crossing had put some doubt in the Brazilian defence's mind at the end.

With three minutes injury time, Denilson came on to run at the opposition and tormented them with his tricks, but as Asamoah chopped him down on another run, referee Collina picked up the ball and blew the final whistle on World Cup 2002.  The final had gone the way that most people thought, but perhaps not in the fashion they had imagined.  No debatable decisions (maybe due to European officials - one Englishman among them !!), no doubt about the winners and the only question mark that hung over proceedings is what would have happened four years ago had Ronaldo been fit to play ??  

That we will never know.  What we do know is that, at the moment, Brazil are the best team in the world.


Final : -

Germany   0    Brazil   2

INTERESTING FACT : -  Cafu became the first player to play in the Final of three consecutive World Cups .
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY : -     How is it that the holders have to qualify next time, but the losers (hosting the next competition) don't  ??  Another Blatter special !!

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