4 - 10 July 2002
Issue No. 593
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Recommend this page|
Cream of the cupThese are the stars who lit up the World Cup
The Brazilian striker was the player of the tournament. Top scorer with eight goals, he scored both goals in the final and found the net in six out of seven games. His comeback from four injury-wracked years brought universal acclaim and at 25 he could still be around for the 2006 finals in Germany. But will his operation-scarred knees hold out that long?
"Even in my wildest dreams I had never imagined that something like this could happen," Ronaldo said after Brazil lifted the trophy for a record fifth time.
The revelation of the tournament. At 22, the little midfielder came of age at these finals and his stunning goal and assist in the 2-1 quarter-final win over England will live long in memory. Missed the semi-final through suspension but was back at his probing best in the final. Could be a force in international football for years to come, and the European big clubs are lining up to sign him from Paris St Germain.
"Now for another two World Cups," Ronaldinho said on Sunday after Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the final.
OLIVER KAHN (Germany)
His costly mistake allowing Brazil's opening goal in the final only served to underline the immensity of his overall performance. His saves almost single-handedly dragged an efficient but limited German side into the final. Voted goalkeeper of the finals, he is also now the undisputed best stopper in the world, but at 33 he has probably played in his last World Cup finals. "It's normal to make a mistake," Kahn said after the final, "but it's 10 times worse when it comes in the final. Nothing can console me about that but life goes on."
MICHAEL BALLACK (Germany)
His absence in the final through suspension left Germany with few attacking options. He took command of a German midfield bereft of its star players due to injuries and stamped his authority on the side. He was also a potent threat in front of the goal, scoring the winners against the United States in the quarter-finals and against South Korea in the semi-finals. Rudi Voller can build the side around him for Euro 2004 in Portugal.
"My first thoughts are bitterness and personally, I think that this is a very stupid situation because my dream was to play in the final but now it will not be," Ballack said after the semi- final red card.
HASAN SAS (Turkey)
He emerged as the driving force behind Turkey's unexpected drive to the semi-finals, combining ultra-fast breaks from midfield with incisive finishing. With one-time leading light Hakan Sukur out of sorts, he was the man the Turks looked to break down opposition defences as their own rearguard looked solid and reliable. Will be the mainstay of Turkey's Euro 2004 challenge starting with the qualifiers against England.
"We have got a young team and we have shown that Turkey deserves to be playing at the highest level," Sas said. "Our opponents will fear us from now on."
AHN JUNG-HWAN (South Korea)
He epitomised the Korean storm that blew away Portugal, Italy and Spain before crashing into the German defensive wall in the semi-finals. His golden goal against Italy will remain one of the abiding memories of the finals and his Italian club Perugia's outrageous outburst against him for defeating Italy made headlines around the world. He later snubbed an offer by Perugia to reinstate him.
"I will find a better league and a better club."
FERNANDO HIERRO (Spain)
Spain's captain and all-time top scorer bowed out of international football with a series of commanding displays that foundered against South Korea in a controversial quarter-final. Hierro, who won 89 caps in 13 years of duty, will concentrate on playing for European champions Real Madrid leaving Spain with a massive hole to fill at the heart of the defence.
"I will leave the scene a happy man. I've given my all for the colours of my country and each selection has been an honour. It has nothing to do with my age. I just feel it's time to move on."
EL-HADJI DIOUF (Senegal)
Diouf arrived at the World Cup with a reputation for trouble- making and left as one of the top four strikers. His selection in the All-Star Team was a deserved reward for the peroxide blond 21-year-old, who led Senegal on a brilliant run to the quarter-finals on their World Cup debut, leaving France and Sweden in their wake.
Diouf did not actually score himself but his electric pace and pinpoint passing set up goals for teammates and earned him a big-money move to English giants Liverpool which is set to be completed this week. His time on the world stage will surely come again.
What he said after the golden goal defeat to Turkey: "It's tough, it's tough, it's tough."
CLAUDIO REYNA (United States)
Sunderland midfielder Reyna proved a star in the World Cup on and off the field. On it, he drove his side demonically against Germany in a quarter-final the Americans could have won as he sprayed passes around the field. Off the field, he impressed reporters with his linguistic capabilities, giving interviews in English, Spanish and German.
Reyna, 28, was one of his side's top performers as they made the last eight.
What he said after Korea beat Portugal: "We owe them a big thank you. We're just happy to be through."
RIO FERDINAND (England)
Rio Ferdinand came of age in England's defence alongside Sol Campbell and he vowed to get over the pain of a quarter- final exit to Brazil by winning a major international title in the next four years.
Pele rated him highly enough to put the defender in his own all-star team.
"We will definitely be in a final in the next four years -- whether it's the European Championships in Portugal in two years or the World Cup in Germany," Ferdinand said.
Letter from the Editor
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