The 2002 World Cup was hosted in Japan and South Korea. There was a glut of bizarre results but in the end the tournament fizzled out and Brazil won it as usual.
Due to a series of administrative errors and internal practical jokes, 2002’s edition of football’s greatest event took place in Japan and South Korea instead of somewhere sensible like Germany.
Because of the tournament’s location, time difference took a heavy toll on European viewers and supporters of the playing European teams.
FIFA considered restarting the competition after the last 16 due to the unscheduled early exits of France, Argentina, Portugal and Italy, but decided that too many people would probably notice.
Because of time difference, games were often played at around 8am in Europe.
Many multinational corporations were forced to shut down after productivity plummeted by 90 per cent during the month of the World Cup.
The silly times made games like Sweden-Nigeria at 7.30am seem like a strange dream – a tedious, cagey, pointless, dispiriting dream.
Commentators became obsessed by the idea that it was still early morning in Britain while they were reporting on games. John Motson spent most of the tournament speculating at what the viewers may be eating for breakfast back in England.
World Cup 2002 began on a high as defending champions France were incredibly beaten by Senegal – a country they had owned and befouled throughout the 19th century.
The result was particularly crushing for France midfielder Patrick Vieira, who was born in Senegal and showed touching loyalty to his native nation by playing like shit.
France were to bow out of the tournament at the first stage after also managing to lose to a typically dull Danish side. The only other moment of interest in Group A was Uruguay man Dario Rodriguez scoring a rocket of a volley against Denmark.
Brazil had a farcically easy draw in Group C but skeletal cheat and Peter Taylor look-a-like Rivaldo showed his true colours by throwing himself to the floor in mock agony when Hakan Unsal gently kicked the ball to him so he could take a corner. Unsal was sent off, Rivaldo’s punishment awaits him in the afterlife.
China wasted everybody’s time in turning up. Under hapless boss Bora Milutinovic they didn’t get a point, a goal or even have a shot before going home to be slaughtered like hogs by the government.
The USA shocked everyone by beating spineless underachievers Portugal 3-2 in a phenomenal game in Group D. This result allowed hosts South Korea, spurred on by chilling chants of ‘Korea you must win’, to knock Portugal out with a 1-0 win. It would later become obvious that the Koreans had bribed the referees, but it was still an impressive achievement for Guus Hiddink’s men.
Germany did horrible things to Saudi Arabia in Group E, beating them 8-0 despite the Asian qualifiers’ attempts to call unfair teams at half-time. The Saudis had called for hat-trick hero Miroslav Klose to go on their side, but, like their call of ‘next goal wins’ in the 80th minute, it was rejected.
The Republic of Ireland ‘gave Germany a doing’ by grabbing a draw and pushed through thanks to Cameroon’s traditional implosion in spite of Roy Keane being sent home for calling Mick McCarthy a ‘cunt who isn’t even Irish.’
Argentina were eliminated from Group F after losing to England and drawing with draw-obsessed dullards Sweden. Nigeria were also in the group but, as often happens, made no obvious effort to go through.
Having rigged the draw, Japan progressed from Group H, known as the ‘Group of Shit.’ Both BBC and ITV played up the lack of talent in the group with the latter running a controversial advert for Russia-Tunisia backed by Eels song ‘World of Shit’.
Gary Lineker and pundits Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson refused to provide analysis during Group H games, instead playing childish games like 'I Spy'.
Commentator Peter Drury took the chance to recite poetry during Japan-Russia and there were no recorded complaints as ITV replaced Belgium-Tunisia with Quincy. Although it seemed the deaths of three advertising execs were unrelated suicides, a surly Quincy proved they were in fact murders after a protracted legal battle.
It is unlikely there will ever be a weaker group in a major competition.
Germany beat South American fun-killers Paraguay 1-0 thanks to tenacious Hobbit Oliver Neuville.
Senegal continued their ridiculous run by beating Sweden with a golden goal, much to the delight of Coach Bruno Metsu, a hairy Frenchman who looked like an ageing porn star.
Mexico secured their trademark last 16 exit by losing to the USA. United States midfielder DaMarcus Beasley would have helped but he was busy pissing on the pitch.
While Japan lost 1-0 to Turkey, co-hosts South Korea upset Italy, mostly thanks to referee Byron Moreno, who was so crooked and corrupted he joined the Korean players in celebrating the golden goal win, spraying champagne over the sheepish Korean officials. Moreno is now in jail for drug trafficking.
Ahn Jung-Hwan, who scored the decisive goal, was sacked by Italian employers Perugia after insane club President Luciano Gaucci stated: "I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian football." Gaucci refused to comment on allegations that Italians are bad losers.
Toothy star Ronaldinho sank England with a cross-shot in the quarter-finals. The USA were beaten by Germany. There was controversy when Torsten Frings stopped a shot on the line with his hand, but the referee issued a statement explaining that he had thought Frings was rush goalie at the time.
South Korea beat Spain on penalties with the referee clearing three Spanish shots of the line during normal time and ending the game after 62 minutes.
Turkey beat Senegal with a golden goal in a limp match.
South Korea was eliminated which resulted in Brazil-Germany final.
Brazil won a miserable, one-sided final.