Kits, Shoes, Tactics and Team of the Tournament (World Cup 2002) Part 2
The big performance feature of the tournament was a mesh panel over a sewn in base layer. Adidas went for contrasting colors on some shirts which worked with most jerseys except for the white ones, with France and China coming to mind. Nike’s template saw an angled chest section accented with several different features: contrasting colored triangles at the collarbone and rib cage panels, raglan sleeves and a mixture of collars.
Of course the most unique kit had to have been Cameroon, which saw sleeves sewn into a tank top designed kit in order to meet FIFA regulations. Germany wore the same kit (white shirt, black shorts, white socks) in every match. I owned the Nigeria home shirt from this competition for while but eventually got rid of it. My post on the shirt and the Super Eagles tournament can be found here.
On the shoe front adidas had recently released the Predator Mania ahead of the tournament. The shoe was much less stylized than the previous versions and didn’t have the fins. A traditional looking boot, the tongue was held in place with an elastic band that went under the shoe, and blades rather than studs were used and the shoe featured a heel cup.
Nike continued on with their Mercurial Vapor line and launched it with the famous Secret Tournament campaign. Focusing on making the lightest boot possible, the outsole was made of a synthetic material called Nike Skin. The shoe also contained an external heel counter and a “glass” filled outsole called NikeFrame.
I couldn’t find much in the way of tactical innovations so I focused on the US v Mexico Round of 16 game and the winners of the tournament.
I had it stuck in my brain that Claudio Reyna played some sort of RBW/RM but didn’t know if that was right or why one of the most technical players in the US Soccer history was manning the channels. Research proved that I remember correctly and this position was the result of squad changes. Bruce Arena rolled out a 3-5-2 against their CONCACAF rivals. Friedel was between the sticks with Berhalter, Pope and Sanneh in a three man back line with Mastroeni back in the squad to help clog the middle. Lewis and Reyna played wing back to provide defensive cover and O’Brien and Donovan started and linked the attack, which was led by Wolff and McBride. The US gave up possession but kept Mexico at arm’s length, only giving up one shot. An early goal from McBride allowed a dogged organization to take over and the United States saw off Mexico. This tactical tweak secured the result for the Stars and Stripes and added another Dos a Cero to the rivalry.
As for Brazil, everyone remembers an awesome attack of the three R’s but the midfield corps was disrupted by an injury to Emerson before the tournament and a change by Scolari in the knockout stages. Michael Cox of Zonal Marking examined the team and saw the Seleccao move from a midfield of Emerson and Juninho Paulista to a midfield of Gilberto Silva and Juninho Paulista, who was then replaced by Kleberson. The result was a 3-4-1-2 with a back three of Lucio, Edmilson and Roque Juinor and Cafu and Roberto Carlos as wingbacks. Ronaldinho took the ball off the back line and got it up to Rivaldo and Ronaldo. Not really a tactical innovation by Scolari but one that got Brazil’s World Cup Qualification back on track, maximized his player pool and captured the country’s fifth title.
Team of the Tournament
Reviewing the Team of the Tournament, the memories came flooding back. Kahn was a beast but had an unfortunate moment in the Final. Rustu would get a cup of coffee at Barcelona but spent most of his career in Turkey. Hong Myung Bo was a rock in the back for the hosts. The three R’ed attack of Brazil was a sight to behold. I loved Hasan Sas and actually created a player based on him for a FIFA game. And of course who could forget El Hadji Diouf. The Senegalese striker had a great summer but a series of terrible spells followed in England afterwards.
Goalkeepers: Oliver Kahn (Germany); Rustu Recber (Turkey)
Defenders: Roberto Carlos (Brazil); Sol Campbell (England); Hong Myung Bo (South Korea); Alpay Ozalan (Turkey); Fernando Hierro (Spain)
Midfielders: Rivaldo, Ronaldinho (Brazil); Claudio Reyna (United States); Michael Ballack (Germany); Yoo Sang Chul (South Korea)
Forwards: Ronaldo (Brazil); El Hadji Diouf (Senegal); Hasan Sas (Turkey); Miroslav Klose (Germany)
All in all, a strange tournament due to the timing and multiple locations but one that I will remember for the United States’ fine performance and exposure to new teams like Senegal, Turkey and South Korea. Kit game wasn’t that strong but some of the goals were quite tasty.
Read Part 1 here and check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.