The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th football World Cup and was held between 31 May and 30 June 2002 at sites in South Korea and Japan, with its final match hosted by Japan at International Stadium in Yokohama. 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 both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF.
The 2002 World Cup saw the appearance of a new player on the world football scene who would be regarded as one of the best players in history, Brazilian forward Ronaldo. Ronaldo scored twice against China in his first match to propel Brazil into the second round and then scored two more goals to beat Chile in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final match against England, Ronaldo’s two goals within a minute turned a 1–0 deficit into a 2–1 victory for Brazil. However, he injured himself in the final when he landed awkwardly on his left ankle after attempting a cross in the match against Germany. Ronaldo scored both goals in the final as Brazil won 2–0, winning his second FIFA World Cup winner’s medal.
For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, no African team progressed to the second round. With this, 2002 marked one of only two occasions that no African team has ever competed in the second round of a World Cup.
The most notable match in this tournament was Japan vs. the United States, which became the most-watched association football match in American television history at the time (it has since been surpassed several times). The final attracted an estimated audience of 35.1 million viewers on ABC according to Nielsen Media Research. The broadcast broke the previous U.S. viewing record for a World Cup game (25.4 million viewers during France vs. Brazil in 1998 final) and is currently ranked as the third-most watched television program in American history, behind only Super Bowl XLV in 2011 and NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony from 2012. The average U.S. audience for the final was 24.4 million, an increase of 27 percent over the 1998 World Cup Final, which had aired on Fox.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup featured a total of 64 games—the highest number of games ever in a World Cup Tournament at that time (this was later surpassed by the tournament held in 2010) – including the tournament’s final, a total of nine matches. In total, the tournament took one month to be played and contained a total of 64 games: 32 group stage matches, 12 rounds of 16 matches, four quarter-finals, two semi-finals, a third-place play-off, and the final match. For the first time in FIFA World Cup history, the matches took place in two different countries – South Korea and Japan.
The 2002 World Cup was the most expensive football tournament ever held to this day, with a cost of over £560 million. The cost also exceeded the budget for building stadiums by a stunning 133%.
it can be said that the 2002 FIFA World Cup was an event of a true-footballing nation that became the most-watched association football match in American television history.