A World Festival Hosted by Korea – 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup

Hello, this is Yeony. Today, I will introduce the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, the first World Cup held in Korea, which is one of the world’s three major festivals, along with the Olympics and World Expos. Korea had the honor of hosting all three major world events by hosting the World Cup. The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, the first World Cup held in the 21st century, was held from May 31, 2002 to June 30, 2002 in 20 cities across Korea and Japan. It was also the first World Cup hosted in Asia and the first jointly held World Cup in history.

The official name was 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, having the theme of a new millennium, a new encounter, and a new start. By setting the goal of hosting the most exemplary FIFA World Cup, the Korea World Cup Organizing Committee (KOWOC) and Japan World Cup Organizing Committee (JAWOC) cooperated to plan, implement, and manage the overall operation of the event.

The official emblem was a design of a trophy, soccer ball, and earth in the middle of a circle and the mascots were imaginative animals using 3D animation technology, having the names of ‘Ato,’ ‘Nik,’ and ‘Kaz,’ soccer-loving characters.

A total of 64 games were played, 32 games each in Korea and Japan for 31 days in 20 cities, which were Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan, Suwon, Jeonju, and Seogwipo of Korea, and Sapporo, Miyagi, Niigata, Ibaraki, Saitama, Yokohama, Shizuoka, Osaka, Kobe, and Oita of Japan. From a total of 32 teams, which were the 29 teams who qualified for the tournament through their continent’s tournaments, Japan and Korea, the hosting countries, and France, the defending champion, 16 teams each played games in Korea and Japan.

Brazil became the champion by winning its fifth title in World Cup history, Germany took second place, Turkey took third place, and Korea took fourth place. Korea became the first Asian nation to enter the semifinals by recording 3 wins, 2 ties, and 2 losses among 7 games, breaking national records by achieving the first victory in the World Cup, entering the second round, quarterfinals, and semifinals for the first time. Moreover, the mass street-cheering led by the Red Devils, the supporters for the Korean soccer team, impressed the world.

The golden ball award, given to the best player, and Yashin award, given to the best goalkeeper, were given to Oliver Kahn of Germany, and the golden shoe award, given to the top scorer, was given to Ronaldo of Brazil, who scored 8 goals. The fair play trophy, given to the team showing the cleanest manner during the event, was given to the Belgian soccer team.

By successfully hosting the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, Korea became a country that had hosted all three world events, which are the Olympics, Expo, and World Cup. Now, the world will concentrate their eyes again on Korea in 2012. Do you know why? That is because the 2012 Yeosu Expo will be hosted by Korea. Let us meet at Yeosu, Korea in May 2012 at the Expo held on the theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast.”