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Five of the best goals from the 2002 World Cup

Japan and South Korea provided a unique backdrop as the World Cup headed to Asia for the very first time in 2002.

It was a tournament packed full of memorable moments as world champions France suffered an early exit and co-hosts South Korea reached the last four. Brazil were crowned champions after beating Germany in the final, with the redemption of Ronaldo complete after his match-winning brace in Yokohama.

Here are five of the best goals from the 2002 World Cup.

Dario Rodriguez

Dario Rodriguez scored just three goals during his international career, but saved a belter for the 2002 World Cup as the left-back lashed home this wondrous volley against Denmark.

Uruguay had trailed at the break to Jon Dahl Tomasson’s goal on the stroke of half-time, before Rodriguez levelled two minutes after the restart with a thumping effort from the edge of the area.

It wasn’t enough to seal success however, as Tomasson’s second earned Denmark a 2-1 win in the opener. Uruguay crashed out early, picking up just two points from their three games to suffer a group stage exit.

Roberto Carlos

The first of two Brazilian goals in our five favourites from 2002, with Roberto Carlos blasting home this brilliant goal against China.

The thunder-thighed left-back had quite the reputation for stunning strikes from distance and lived up to his reputation with a howitzer of an effort in the group stage. China felt the full force of the Brazilians who ran riot to secure a comfortable 4-0 win, with Carlos’ cracker the best of the lot for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side.

Jared Borgetti

Mexico impressed during the group stage to top a group containing a star-studded Italy side, with the Azzurri having reached the European Championship final two years earlier.

Needing just a point to reach the last 16, El Tri earned a 1-1 draw courtesy of Jared Borgetti’s brilliant header. Despite the close attentions of Paolo Maldini and the great Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Borgetti capped a fine Mexican move with a stunning header from an unusual angle.

Running away from goal, he contorted his neck to flick Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s cross past the stunned goalkeeper and score one of the World Cup’s most memorable headed efforts.

“It’s what people most remember me for: the Italy game and the goal,” Borgetti later reflected, as per FIFA.

“And that’s because of the quality of the move, the opposition, the players we were up against, and above all how the move started and finished.

“I turned my neck as I headed the ball and that helped put a little spin on it and for it to curve a little,” said Borgetti. “It made Buffon think the ball was going wide but that curve took it inside the post. It wasn’t the kind of header you expect either. You don’t see many like that.”

Park Ji-Sung

South Korea were the surprise package of the finals, as the co-hosts upset the odds to reach the semi-finals.

No Asian team had previously reached the semi-final stage and none have done so since, with Guus Hiddink’s side taking the scalps of Portugal, Spain and Italy to reach the latter stages.

The Koreans had never previously reached the knockout rounds, but secured their progress from the group stage with a 1-0 win over Portugal, who had Joao Pinto and Beto sent off.

Park Ji-Sung’s individual effort condemned Portugal to an early exit and sent Korea through, as he channelled his inner Dennis Bergkamp to produce a moment of magic.

The poster-boy of South Korea’s side, he followed national team manager Hiddink to PSV Eindhoven in 2003, before joining Manchester United two years later.

He spent seven seasons as a fan favourite at Old Trafford, where he won four Premier League titles and the Champions League among his honours.


Luiz Felipe Scolari called Rivaldo the most important part of Brazil’s World Cup triumph, despite the forward being somewhat overshadowed by the Golden Boot-winning campaign of teammate Ronaldo.

“I always say that Rivaldo, in that team, was the player that most helped me,” Scolari told Fox Sports in an interview marking 15 years since Brazil’s success.

“People sometimes forget the tactical side of that team. They only see what happened in the final, the goals…. But Rivaldo was the best team player.”

Rivaldo’s five goals were only bettered by Ronaldo, as he scored in each of Brazil’s first five games. His finest was a sublime effort in the last 16, a chest, touch and swivel combination to open the scoring in a 2-0 win over Belgium.

Brazilian brilliance.

Read – Five of the most iconic players from the 2002 World Cup

Read Also – Ronaldo’s redemption at the 2002 World Cup

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