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This Day in World Cup History - May 31

May 31 (1970, 1986)

May 31, 2002, will not only be the opening day for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, but it will also be the third time that the tournament begins on the last day in May.

Coincidentally, Mexico served as the host both of the previous times the tournament opened on May 31 (1970, 1986).

In 1970, a crowd of 107,160 jammed the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City as the host Mexico opened the tournament playing the U.S.S.R.  to a scoreless draw.

Sixteen years later, Mexico earned the right to host the World Cup when Colombia could not stage the event.  Again, Mexico's legendary Azteca Stadium opened the tournament, as defending champion Italy fought Bulgaria to a 1-1 tie in front of 95,000 spectators.