A few big names from previous tournaments missed out, including Netherlands, Romania, Colombia and Norway.
Host: Japan and South Korea
Format: Group stage, knockouts
Goals : 161
Golden Boot: Ronaldo (Brazil)
The biggest football tournament in the world has moved to the biggest continent for the first time in its history.
When hosting rights were announced, Japan and South Korea submitted separate bids.
However, they were notified and agreed to submit a duly approved joint bid. Bid officials in South Korea attempted to include North Korea as an alternate host to promote reunification, but the idea was not approved.
The number of places available for the main draw of the tournament has been reduced to 29, with the French team and the defending champions automatically qualifying. Of the remaining places, two went to Asia, occupied by Saudi Arabia and China, which qualified for the first time.
Out of five teams in Africa, Senegal secured one for the first time in qualifying. Ecuador and Slovenia were the other participants.
A few big names have missed previous tournaments, including Holland, Romania, Colombia and Norway.
Defending champions France were favorites alongside Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Italy. However, two of them faltered early on and failed to make it past the group stage.
France lost their opening game against Senegal, the former French colony and several members of the team who played in the French leagues. France then drew 0-0 with Uruguay, before losing 2-0 to Denmark.
Argentina fared slightly better (one win, one draw) in the so-called group of death. England avenged their loss four years ago with a 1-0 victory over the Argentines.
Brazil and Spain made their way to the Round of 16 by winning all three group matches. Spain’s impressive run ended in the quarter-finals as they faced the strong domestic power of South Korea.
With the support of the crowd, the home country took several controversial moves. The quarter-final match against Spain ended with a penalty shootout, which South Korea won 5-3. However, the Germans stopped them in the semi-finals.
Brazil’s career was boosted by Ronaldo’s return from a career-threatening injury. The star scored four goals in the group matches and four in the round of 16, including two goals in the final against Germany.
After a heartbreak in 1998, one of Brazil’s greatest teams won the country’s record fifth world title in Yokohama four years later.
The tournament benefited the economies of the two host countries.
Ronaldo, considered one of Brazil’s greatest players, finally took home the World Cup after an amazing performance in the tournament.
Brazil won all matches in normal time.
Miroslav Klose scored a hat-trick in his country’s 8-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.
A total of 20 stadiums (10 in each country) were used in the tournament.
The Brazilian Cafu became the only player to appear in the finals of the World Cup three times (1994, 1998, 2002).
The refereeing decisions, especially those relating to South Korea in the Round of 16, have been the subject of criticism and scrutiny.
Ireland’s Roy Keane has been sent home after expressing dissatisfaction with his team’s facilities and preparations.