|2002 FIFA /
2002 FIFA? /
2002 FIFA World Cup official logo
|Host countries||South Korea
|Dates||31 May - 30 June|
|Teams||32 (from 5 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||20 (in 20 host cities)|
|Fourth place||South Korea|
|Goals scored||161 (2.52 per match)|
|Attendance||2,705,197 (42,269 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Ronaldo (8 goals)|
|Best player||Oliver Kahn|
|Best young player||Landon Donovan|
|Best goalkeeper||Oliver Kahn|
The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th staging of the FIFA World Cup which took place from 31 May to 30 June 2002 in South Korea and Japan. This world cup set a number of precedents. It was the first World Cup to be held in Asia. No previous World Cup was held on a continent other than Europe or the Americas. It was also the first World Cup to be jointly hosted by more than one nation. Finally, this was the last event to use the golden goal rule. Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, winning the final against Germany 2-0. The victory meant Brazil qualified for the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup for the fifth time, representing the World. In the third place play-off match against South Korea, Turkey won 3-2 taking third place in only their second ever FIFA World Cup finals.China PR, Ecuador, Senegal and Slovenia made their first appearances at the finals.
The tournament had several upsets and surprise results which included the defending champions France being eliminated in the group stage after earning a single point and second favourites Argentina also being eliminated in the group stage. Additionally, Turkey took third place and South Korea managed to reach the semi-finals, beating Spain, Italy and Portugal en route. However, the most potent team at the tournament, Brazil, prevailed and they became the first and to date the only nation to win five World Cups, as well as the only team to win all their matches throughout the tournament.
South Korea and Japan were selected as hosts by FIFA on 31 May 1996. Initially, South Korea, Japan, and Mexico presented three rival bids. FIFA officials brokered a united bid between the two Asian countries shortly before the decision was made, and they were chosen unanimously in preference to Mexico. This was the first (and so far the only) World Cup to be hosted by two countries. The general secretary of South Korea's bidding committee, Song Young-shik, stated that FIFA was interested in staging some matches in North Korea in order to aid Korean reunification, but was ruled out.
At the time the decision was made, Japan had never qualified for a World Cup finals (although the Japanese did subsequently qualify for the 1998 competition). The only other countries to have been awarded a World Cup without previously having competed in a final tournament are Italy in 1934 and Qatar in 2022. (Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930 so there was no prior tournament. They were defending Olympic champions from 1928).
The unusual choice of host proved an issue for football fans in Europe, used to watching international matches on or close to their time zone. With games taking place in the European morning, some schools and businesses chose to open late on match days or set up communal watching events before the start of work.
A total of 199 teams attempted to qualify for the 2002 World Cup which qualification process began with the preliminary draw held in Tokyo on 7 December 1999. Defending champions France and co-hosts South Korea and Japan qualified automatically and did not have to play any qualification matches. This was the final World Cup in which the defending champions qualified automatically.
14 places were contested by UEFA teams (Europe), five by CAF teams (Africa), four by CONMEBOL teams (South America), four by AFC teams (Asia), and three by CONCACAF teams (North and Central America and Caribbean). The remaining two places were decided by playoffs between AFC and UEFA and between CONMEBOL and OFC (Oceania). Four nations qualified for the finals for the first time: China, Ecuador, Senegal, and Slovenia. As of 2018, this was the last time Republic of Ireland, Turkey and China qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals.
Turkey qualified for the first time since 1954, and both Poland and Portugal for the first time since 1986. 1998 semi-finalists the Netherlands, three times 1990s participants Romania and Colombia and Norway, Bulgaria and Morocco, which had participated in the previous 2 finals, failed to qualify, while South Korea set a record by appearing in a fifth successive finals tournament, the first nation from outside Europe or the Americas to achieve this feat.
All seven previous World Cup-winning nations (Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay) qualified, the first time so many previous champions had been present at a finals tournament (all these nations had also appeared at the 1986 tournament, but France had not yet won the competition).
The following 32 teams, shown with final pre-tournament rankings, qualified for the final tournament:
South Korea and Japan each provided 10 venues, the vast majority of them newly built for the tournament. Groups A-D played all their matches in South Korea, and Groups E-H played all their matches in Japan. The stadiums in Daegu, Suwon, Yokohama and Saitama all hosted 4 matches each, while the other 16 stadiums hosted 3 matches each.
|Seoul World Cup Stadium
|Daegu World Cup Stadium
|Busan Asiad Stadium
|Incheon Munhak Stadium
|Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium
|Suwon World Cup Stadium
|Gwangju World Cup Stadium
|Jeonju World Cup Stadium
|Daejeon World Cup Stadium
|Jeju World Cup Stadium
|International Stadium Yokohama
|Saitama Stadium 2002
|Shizuoka "Ecopa" Stadium
|Kashima Soccer Stadium
|Kobe Wing Stadium
|List of match officials by confederation and country|
There was much controversy over the refereeing in the tournament. Questionable decisions in the Italy-South Korea match resulted in 400,000 complaints, and featured in ESPN's 10 most fabled World Cup controversies. The Spain-South Korea match featured two controversially disallowed Spanish goals, which Iván Helguera referred to as "a robbery" and led to Spanish press brandishing the officials "thieves of dreams," though FIFA dismissed the incident as human error.
Referees from both the South Korea-Italy and South Korea-Spain match later went on to face criminal charges for corruption and drug trafficking.
This was the first World Cup that featured squads of 23 players, an increase from 22 previously. Of the 23 players, 3 must be goalkeepers.
The eight seeded teams for the 2002 tournament were announced on 28 November 2001. The seeds comprised Pot A in the draw. Pot B contained the remaining 11 European sides; Pot C contained five unseeded qualifiers from CONMEBOL and AFC. Pot D contained unseeded sides from the CONCACAF region and Africa. This was the last FIFA World Cup with the defending champion in Group A. Since 2006, the Host nation has been in Group A.
|Pot A||Pot B||Pot C||Pot D|
Before the draw, it was arranged that the last three teams in Pot B would be drawn into four groups which did not already contain two European teams and one would be left without a second European team. This was ultimately Group C. No group could contain more than two European teams, no unseeded South American team could be drawn with Brazil or Argentina and no unseeded Asian team could be drawn with South Korea or Japan.
France, as holders were automatically placed in Group A, South Korea were placed in Group D and Japan were placed in Group H. One of the two South American seeds (Brazil and Argentina) had to play in a group played in South Korea and the other had to play in a group played in Japan. In Pot C, China had to play in South Korea (either group A, B or C) which meant that the other Asian team in Pot C (Saudi Arabia) had to play in Japan (either group E, F or G). In Pot D, two or three African teams, and one or two CONCACAF teams had to play in either South Korea or Japan.
On 1 December 2001, the draw was held and the group assignments and order of fixtures were determined. Group F was considered the group of death, as it brought together Argentina, England, Nigeria and Sweden.
In the following tables:
The teams in the group play were ranked upon
Tying teams would be ranked on:
Still tying teams would be ranked on:
In the original version of the rules for the final tournament, the ranking criteria were in a different order, with head-to-head results taking precedence over total goal difference. The rules were changed to the above in advance of the tournament, but older versions were still available on the FIFA and UEFA websites, causing some confusion among those trying to identify the correct criteria.
Group A involved the defending champions France, Senegal, Uruguay, and Denmark. The World Cup started with a 1-0 defeat of France, playing without the injured Zinedine Zidane, by tournament newcomers Senegal in the tournament's opening match held in Seoul, South Korea. On the next day, two goals by Jon Dahl Tomasson gave the Danes a 2-1 victory over Uruguay in Ulsan. In the second set of Group A matches, France were held to a 0-0 draw in Busan by Uruguay after star striker Thierry Henry was sent off, while in Daegu, Denmark and Senegal drew 1-1. A 2-0 defeat by Denmark in their last group game in Incheon sealed France's elimination from the World Cup. The world champions went out of the Cup without even managing to score a goal and earned the unwanted record of the worst World Cup performance by a defending champion (in 1934 Uruguay refused to defend the title). Senegal drew with Uruguay to clinch their place in the second round, despite Uruguay coming back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3, in their last group game in Suwon. The South Americans couldn't find the fourth goal that would have kept them in the Cup and thus were out of the tournament. At the end, Denmark won Group A with 7 points, followed by Senegal with 5 points. Uruguay were eliminated with 2 points and reigning Champions France with 1 point.
|1||Denmark||3||2||1||0||5||2||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|31 May 2002|
|France||0-1||Senegal||Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul|
|1 June 2002|
|Uruguay||1-2||Denmark||Munsu Cup Stadium, Ulsan|
|6 June 2002|
|Denmark||1-1||Senegal||Daegu World Cup Stadium, Daegu|
|France||0-0||Uruguay||Asiad Main Stadium, Busan|
|11 June 2002|
|Denmark||2-0||France||Incheon Munhak Stadium, Incheon|
|Senegal||3-3||Uruguay||Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon|
Spain in Group B became one of only two teams to pick up maximum points, seeing off both Slovenia and Paraguay (In Gwangju and Jeonju respectively) 3-1 before defeating South Africa 3-2 in Daejeon. Paraguay advanced over a late goal, winning 3-1 over newcomer Slovenia in Seogwipo to tie with South Africa on goal difference (they were already tied with four points, having drawn 2-2 in their opening game against each other in Busan). As a result, Paraguay advanced to the second round on the goals scored tiebreaker, scoring six goals compared to South Africa's five.
|1||Spain||3||3||0||0||9||4||+5||9||Advance to knockout stage|
|2 June 2002|
|Paraguay||2-2||South Africa||Asiad Main Stadium, Busan|
|Spain||3-1||Slovenia||Gwangju World Cup Stadium, Gwangju|
|7 June 2002|
|Spain||3-1||Paraguay||Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju|
|8 June 2002|
|South Africa||1-0||Slovenia||Daegu World Cup Stadium, Daegu|
|12 June 2002|
|South Africa||2-3||Spain||Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon|
|Slovenia||1-3||Paraguay||Jeju World Cup Stadium, Seogwipo|
Group C saw Brazil become the other team to win all three of their Group matches, defeating Turkey 2-1 in Ulsan, China 4-0 in Seogwipo, and Costa Rica 5-2 in Suwon. Turkey also advanced to the next round, defeating Costa Rica on goal difference after both teams drew with 4 points each (both tied 1-1 in Incheon against each other). China, coached by Bora Milutinovi? (the fifth national team he coached in five consecutive World Cups), failed to get a point or even score a goal.
|1||Brazil||3||3||0||0||11||3||+8||9||Advance to knockout stage|
|3 June 2002|
|Brazil||2-1||Turkey||Munsu Cup Stadium, Ulsan|
|4 June 2002|
|China PR||0-2||Costa Rica||Gwangju World Cup Stadium, Gwangju|
|8 June 2002|
|Brazil||4-0||China PR||Jeju World Cup Stadium, Seogwipo|
|9 June 2002|
|Costa Rica||1-1||Turkey||Incheon Munhak Stadium, Incheon|
|13 June 2002|
|Costa Rica||2-5||Brazil||Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon|
|Turkey||3-0||China PR||Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul|
Group D saw Co-Host South Korea, Poland, United States and Portugal square off against each other. South Korea and Poland started group play in Busan, where South Korea earned their first ever World Cup victory, defeating Poland 2-0. United States shocked group favorites Portugal the next day, defeating them 3-2 in Suwon. South Korea and United States then faced off in Daegu, where excellent goalkeeping by Brad Friedel and Lee Woon-jae resulted in a 1-1 draw, while a hat-trick by Pauleta gave the Portuguese a comfortable 4-0 win against Poland in Jeonju. In the final group games held in Incheon (Portugal-South Korea) and Daejeon (Poland-United States), South Korea eliminated Portugal thanks to a 70th-minute goal by Park Ji-sung, finishing the game 1-0, while Poland defeated United States 3-1. As a result, South Korea won their first ever group stage and advanced for the first time with seven points, while United States followed with four points. Portugal and Poland were eliminated with three points each in third and fourth places respectively.
|1||South Korea (H)||3||2||1||0||4||1||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|4 June 2002|
|South Korea||2-0||Poland||Asiad Main Stadium, Busan|
|5 June 2002|
|United States||3-2||Portugal||Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon|
|10 June 2002|
|South Korea||1-1||United States||Daegu World Cup Stadium, Daegu|
|Portugal||4-0||Poland||Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju|
|14 June 2002|
|Portugal||0-1||South Korea||Incheon Munhak Stadium, Incheon|
|Poland||3-1||United States||Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon|
Group E had Germany play against Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Cameroon. Ireland and Cameroon started group play in Niigata in a 1-1 draw, while Germany thrashed Saudi Arabia 8-0 in Sapporo. In Ibaraki, Germany held a 1-0 lead thanks to a 19th-minute goal by Miroslav Klose, only to draw 1-1 in a 90+2 minute stoppage time goal by Robbie Keane. Saudi Arabia bowed out of the tournament with a 1-0 defeat against Cameroon in Saitama, thanks to a second-half goal by Samuel Eto'o. In the final matches of Group E, Germany sent Cameroon out of the tournament, winning 0-2 in Shizuoka with goals by Marco Bode and Miroslav Klose, while Ireland defeated Saudi Arabia 3-0 in Yokohama with goals by Robbie Keane, Gary Breen, and Damien Duff. Germany advanced with seven points, and Ireland followed along with five points, while Cameroon was eliminated with four points. Saudi Arabia was eliminated without a single point or goal, having conceded 12 goals, finishing dead last in the tournament.
|1||Germany||3||2||1||0||11||1||+10||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|2||Republic of Ireland||3||1||2||0||5||2||+3||5|
|1 June 2002|
|Republic of Ireland||1-1||Cameroon||Niigata Stadium, Niigata|
|Germany||8-0||Saudi Arabia||Sapporo Dome, Sapporo|
|5 June 2002|
|Germany||1-1||Republic of Ireland||Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki|
|6 June 2002|
|Cameroon||1-0||Saudi Arabia||Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama|
|11 June 2002|
|Cameroon||0-2||Germany||Shizuoka Stadium, Shizuoka|
|Saudi Arabia||0-3||Republic of Ireland||International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama|
Group F was nicknamed the "Group of Death", having Argentina, Nigeria, England, and Sweden. Argentina won their opening game in Ibaraki 1-0 against Nigeria thanks to a second-half goal by Gabriel Batistuta, while in Saitama England and Sweden drew 1-1 thanks to goals by Sol Campbell and Niclas Alexandersson. Sweden and Nigeria faced off in Kobe, where two goals by Henrik Larsson eliminated Nigeria 2-1. Meanwhile, in Sapporo, England won 1-0 over Argentina, thanks to a David Beckham penalty kick. In the final matches of Group F, England and Nigeria drew 0-0 in Osaka, while Sweden and Argentina drew 1-1 in Miyagi. Sweden and England advanced from Group F, first and second respectively with five points each, at the expense of Argentina's four points, while Nigeria finished last with one point.
|1||Sweden||3||1||2||0||4||3||+1||5||Advance to knockout stage|
|2 June 2002|
|Argentina||1-0||Nigeria||Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki|
|England||1-1||Sweden||Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama|
|7 June 2002|
|Sweden||2-1||Nigeria||Kobe Wing Stadium, Kobe|
|Argentina||0-1||England||Sapporo Dome, Sapporo|
|12 June 2002|
|Sweden||1-1||Argentina||Miyagi Stadium, Miyagi|
|Nigeria||0-0||England||Nagai Stadium, Osaka|
Group G saw Italy, Ecuador, Croatia, and Mexico play against each other. Niigata saw the start of the group games, with Mexico winning 1-0 over Croatia, thanks to a penalty converted by Cuauhtémoc Blanco. Later that night in Sapporo, Italy defeated newcomers Ecuador 2-0 with ease, having both goals scored by Christian Vieri. Italy and Croatia faced off a few days later in Ibaraki, where Croatia pulled a 2-1 upset victory over Italy. The next day in Miyagi saw Mexico earn a vital victory over Ecuador 2-1. In the final matches of Group G, Mexico and Italy drew 1-1 in ?ita, while Ecuador achieved their first ever World Cup victory 1-0 over Croatia in Yokohama. Mexico won Group G with seven points, while Italy survived with four points. Croatia and Ecuador were eliminated with three points in third and fourth places respectively.
|1||Mexico||3||2||1||0||4||2||+2||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|3 June 2002|
|Croatia||0-1||Mexico||Niigata Stadium, Niigata|
|Italy||2-0||Ecuador||Sapporo Dome, Sapporo|
|8 June 2002|
|Italy||1-2||Croatia||Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki|
|9 June 2002|
|Mexico||2-1||Ecuador||Miyagi Stadium, Miyagi|
|13 June 2002|
|Mexico||1-1||Italy||?ita Stadium, ?ita|
|Ecuador||1-0||Croatia||International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama|
Group H involved Co-Hosts Japan square off against Belgium, Russia, and Tunisia. Japan earned their first World Cup points in a spectacular 2-2 draw against Belgium in Saitama, while Russia defeated Tunisia in Kobe, 2-0. Japan would get their first ever World Cup victory a few days later in Yokohama, defeating Russia 1-0, thanks to a second-half goal by Junichi Inamoto, while Belgium and Tunisia drew 1-1 in ?ita. In the final matches of Group H, Japan defeated Tunisia with ease, winning 0-2 in Osaka, while Belgium survived against Russia in Shizuoka, winning 3-2. Japan won Group H with seven points, while Belgium advanced with five points. Russia was eliminated with three points, and Tunisia was eliminated with one point.
|1||Japan (H)||3||2||1||0||5||2||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|4 June 2002|
|Japan||2-2||Belgium||Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama|
|5 June 2002|
|Russia||2-0||Tunisia||Kobe Wing Stadium, Kobe|
|9 June 2002|
|Japan||1-0||Russia||International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama|
|10 June 2002|
|Tunisia||1-1||Belgium||?ita Stadium, ?ita|
|14 June 2002|
|Tunisia||0-2||Japan||Nagai Stadium, Osaka|
|Belgium||3-2||Russia||Shizuoka Stadium, Shizuoka|
For the second round, quarter-finals, and semi-finals, the qualifiers from Groups A, C, F, and H played their games in Japan while the qualifiers from Groups B, D, E, and G played their games in South Korea. Daegu, South Korea, hosted the third-place match while Yokohama, Japan, hosted the final.
In the second round, Germany beat Paraguay 1-0 with a late goal by Oliver Neuville in Seogwipo. England defeated Denmark in Niigata 3-0, with all goals occurring in the first half of the game. Sweden and Senegal faced off in ?ita and finished 1-1 in regular time and it took a golden goal from Henri Camara in extra time to settle the game for Senegal 1-2. Spain and Ireland played in Suwon, where Spain led most of the match 1-0 until a late penalty kick scored by Robbie Keane made the match go 1-1 sending it to extra time, where Spain outlasted Ireland 3-2 in a Penalty shootout. The United States beat CONCACAF rivals Mexico 2-0 in Jeonju, thanks to the goals of Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. Brazil defeated Belgium 2-0 in Kobe, with an amazing volley by Rivaldo and a splendid counter-attack goal by Ronaldo. Turkey ended co-hosts Japan's run with a 1-0 win in Miyagi, thanks to a Ümit Davala goal in the 12th minute. The other co-hosts, South Korea, defeated Italy 2-1 in extra time in Daejeon with a goal by Ahn Jung-hwan in the 117th minute, after a match filled with many controversial referring decisions. South Korea's win ensured that, for the very first time in the Cup's history, teams from each of Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia reached the quarter-finals of the same tournament.
In the quarter-finals, England and Brazil squared off in Shizuoka, where Ronaldinho scored a free-kick goal over England's David Seaman early in the second half as Brazil won 2-1. The United States lost to Germany 1-0 in Ulsan by a Michael Ballack goal in the 39th minute, but controversy surrounded the game when United States demanded the referee give a penalty for a goal-line handball by Torsten Frings in the 49th minute, but the referee did not award the penalty. South Korea got another win in Gwangju in a controversial manner, beating Spain 5-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in which the Spaniards twice thought they had scored while onside; however, the efforts were disallowed by the referee with controversial decisions.The hosts became the first team in the Asian Football Confederation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, eclipsing the record of their North Korean counterparts who reached the quarter-finals in 1966. They also became the first World Cup semi-final team not from UEFA or CONMEBOL since the United States did it in 1930. Turkey defeated Senegal 1-0 in Osaka, with a golden goal scored by ?lhan Mans?z in the 93rd minute.
The semi-finals saw two 1-0 games; The first semi-final, held in Seoul saw a Michael Ballack goal good enough for Germany to defeat South Korea. However, Ballack received a yellow card during the match, which forced him to miss the final based on accumulated yellow cards. The next day in Saitama saw Ronaldo score a goal early in the second half, scoring his sixth of the competition for Brazil, who beat Turkey in a replay of their Group C encounter.
In the third-place match in Daegu, Turkey beat the South Koreans 3-2, their first goal coming from Hakan ?ükür straight from the opening kick-off (even though South Korea kicked off) in 10.8 seconds, the fastest ever goal in World Cup history.
In the final match held in Yokohama, Japan, two goals from Ronaldo secured the World Cup for Brazil as they claimed victory over Germany. Ronaldo scored twice in the second half and, after the game, won the Golden Shoe award for the tournament's leading scorer with eight goals. This was the fifth time Brazil had won the World Cup, cementing their status as the most successful national team in the history of the competition. Brazil became the only team since Argentina in 1986 to win the trophy without needing to win a penalty shootout at some stage during the knockout phase, and the total number of penalty shootouts (2) was the lowest since the four-round knockout format was introduced in 1986. Brazil also became the first team to win every match at a World Cup Finals since 1970, and set a new record for highest aggregate goal difference (+14) for a World Cup winner. Brazil's captain Cafu, who became the first player to appear in three successive World Cup finals, accepted the trophy on behalf of the team.
|Round of 16||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Final|
|15 June - Seogwipo|
|21 June - Ulsan|
|17 June - Jeonju|
|25 June - Seoul|
|16 June - Suwon|
|Spain (pen.)||1 (3)|
|22 June - Gwangju|
|Republic of Ireland||1 (2)|
|18 June - Daejeon|
|South Korea (pen.)||0 (5)|
|South Korea (asdet)||2|
|30 June - Yokohama|
|15 June - Niigata|
|21 June - Shizuoka|
|17 June - Kobe|
|26 June - Saitama|
|16 June - ?ita|
|22 June - Osaka||29 June - Daegu|
|18 June - Miyagi|
Ronaldo won the Golden Shoe after scoring eight goals. In total, 161 goals were scored by 112 different players, with three of them credited as own goals. Two of those own goals were in the same match, marking the first time in FIFA World Cup history that own goals had been scored by both teams in the same match.
|List of goalscorers by number of goals and by country|
|Golden Boot||Golden Ball||Yashin Award||Best Young Player||FIFA Fair Play Trophy||Most Entertaining Team|
|Ronaldo||Oliver Kahn1||Oliver Kahn||Landon Donovan||Belgium||South Korea|
|Source: USA Today, 29 June 2002|
After the tournament, FIFA published a ranking of all teams that competed in the 2002 World Cup finals based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition.
|Eliminated in the quarter-finals|
|Eliminated in the round of 16|
|12||Republic of Ireland||E||4||1||3||0||6||3||+3||6|
|Eliminated in the group stage|
|List of sponors for the tournament|
|FIFA World Cup sponsors||Japan sponsors||South Korea sponsors|
The original domestic ticket allocation had fully sold out and the organising committee completed sales of tickets returned from the international allocation by the end of April. However, it was obvious at the opening matches that there were a significant number of empty seats. It was gradually revealed that the World Cup Ticketing Bureau (WCTB) still had unsold tickets in its possession. After FIFA agreed to sell this inventory, JAWOC undertook sales over telephone and WCTB handled the internet sales. For the second round Japan vs. Turkey match in Miyagi in particular, although it was reported by both parties that all tickets had been sold, some 700 seats remained empty.
The tournament was criticized for many poor and questionable refereeing decisions. South Korea in particular faced scrutiny and allegations of corruption due to the favorable decisions they received in their controversial victories over Italy in the Round of 16 and over Spain in the Quarterfinals.
The official FIFA cultural event of the 2002 World Cup was a flag festival called Poetry of the Winds. Held in Nanjicheon Park, an area of the World Cup Park close to the stadium,Poetry of the Winds was exhibited from 29 May to 25 June in order to wish success upon the World Cup and promote a festive atmosphere. During the flag art festival, hand-painted flags from global artists were displayed as a greeting to international guests in a manner that was designed to promote harmony (2002 Flag Art Festival Executive Committee).