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2002 FIFA World Cup Draw Preview: Europe, Part I


The third of five 2002 FIFA World Cup Final Draw previews from U.S. Soccer follows. Today's preview features the seven of the 15 qualifiers from Europe. Tomorrow the remaining eight European qualifiers will be featured. Media and fans can follow the Final Draw as it unfolds by logging on to the Philips DrawTracker on ussoccer.com, which will feature real-time updates of the event.

EUROPE

BELGIUM Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking:
20th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 6” (5-1-2; 25 GF, 6 GA); defeated Czech Republic in home-and-home playoff 2-0 on aggregate score.
2001 Overall Record: 6-2-2.
World Cup final appearances: 11 – 1930 (11th), 1934 (15th), 1938 (13th), 1954 (12th), 1970 (10th), 1982 (10th), 1986 (4th), 1990 (11th), 1994 (11th), 1998 (19th), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 9-16-7
Record vs. USA: 2-1-0; 3 GF, 3 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: Belgium 2, USA 0 in Brussels, Belgium; February 25, 1998 (Van Kerckoven-2)
Manager: Robert Waseige (BEL)
Key Players: Emile Mpenza (F, Schalke 04), Marc Wilmots (M, Schalke 04)

Fast Facts: Surprisingly, the Red Devils will be appearing in their sixth consecutive World Cup, a current streak matched only by world powers Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Spain … Interestingly, they are the first team to ever actually qualify for six consecutive World Cups (discounting hosts and defending champs) … Semifinalists at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, their best-ever finish, they were eliminated 2-0 by Argentina (with Maradona scoring both goals) … Led in qualifying by Schalke 04 forward Marc Wilmots with eight goals. 

CROATIA Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 19th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 6” (5-0-3; 15 GF, 2 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 6-1-5
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1998 (3rd), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 5-2-0.
Record vs. USA: Never met.
Manager: Mirko Jozic (CRO)
Key Players: Alen Boksic (F, Middlesbrough), Davor Suker (F, 1860 Munich)

Fast Facts: Will be making their second straight appearance at the World Cup, after a miraculous run to third place in France in 1998 … Became only the third nation in World Cup history to capture the bronze medal in their first tournament appearance, joining the United States (1930) and Germany (1934) … Davor Suker won the Golden Boot in France ’98 with six goals … Croatia gave up only two goals during qualifying play, the fewest of any nation in the world. 

DENMARK Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 17th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 3” (6-0-4; 22 GF, 6 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 6-1-2
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1986 (9th), 1998 (8th), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 5-3-1.
Record vs. USA: 1-0-2; 6 GF, 3 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: Denmark 4, USA 1 in Pasadena, Calif.; January 22, 1997 (Pedersen-4; Moore)
Manager: Morten Olsen (DEN)
Championship Honors: 1992 European Cup champions; 1995 Confederations Cup champions
Key Players: Ebbe Sand (F, Schalke 04), Jon Dahl Tomasson (M, Feyenoord)

Fast Facts: A surprise team in 1998, they advanced to the quarterfinals (where they lost to Brazil) … Were led in qualifying by Ebbe Sand’s nine goals, which was the second best total in Europe (behind Andriy Shevchenko of Ukraine) … Went undefeated in 10 qualifying matches to win a tough group that included the Czech Republic and Bulgaria … Their campaign was made all the more special as the team adjusts to the international retirements of Peter Schmeichel and the Laudrup brothers.

ENGLAND Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 10th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 9” (5-1-2; 16 GF, 6 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 7-1-1
World Cup final appearances: 11 – 1950 (8th), 1954 (6th), 1958 (11th), 1962 (8th), 1966 (1st), 1970 (8th), 1982 (6th), 1986 (8th), 1990 (4th), 1998 (9th), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 20-12-13
Record vs. USA: 5-2-0; 31 GF, 7 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: England 2, USA 0 in London; September 7, 1994 (Shearer-2)
Manager: Sven Goran Eriksson (SWE)
Championship Honors: 1966 World Cup Champions
Key Players: David Beckham (M, Manchester United), Michael Owen (F, Liverpool)

Fast Facts: After a slow start (which featured a loss at home to Germany and a tie in Finland), England stormed back to win their group with five straight victories (including a historic 5-1 win in Germany) and a last-gasp draw against Greece (courtesy of an injury-time free kick from star David Beckham) … Won the 1966 World Cup on home soil, but have failed to deliver in major international competitions since … Suffered arguably the biggest upset in World Cup history when they lost 1-0 to the USA in 1950 their first World Cup appearance.  

FRANCE Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 1st
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as defending champion.
2001 Overall Record: 8-3-1.
World Cup final appearances: 11 – 1930 (7th), 1934 (9th), 1938 (6th), 1954 (11th), 1958 (3rd), 1966 (13th), 1978 (12th), 1982 (4th), 1986 (3rd), 1998 (1st), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 21-14-6.
Record vs. USA: 2-0-0; 9 GF, 0 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: France 3, USA 0 in Paris, France; October 10, 1979 (Platini, Wagner, Amisse)
Manager: Roger Lemerre (FRA)
Championship Honors: 1984 Olympic champions; 1998 World Cup champions; 1984 & 2000 European Cup champions; 2001 Confederations Cup champions.
Key Players: Thierry Henry (F, Arsenal), Marcel Desailly (D, Chelsea), Zinedine Zidane (M, Real Madrid)

Fast Facts: With their victory in 1998, they became the sixth country to win the World Cup on their home soil … Combined with their triumph in Euro 2000, France are just the second team in history to hold World Cup and European Championship trophies at the same time (Germany won the 1972 Euro title and the 1974 World Cup) … Led by two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane … Head coach Roger Lemerre has successfully guided the team after Aime Jacquet stepped down after France ’98. 

GERMANY Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 11th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 9” (5-1-2; 14 GF, 10 GA); defeated Ukraine in home-and-home playoff 5-2 on aggregate score.
2001 Overall Record: 6-2-3.
World Cup final appearances: 15 – 1934 (3rd), 1938 (10th), 1954 (1st), 1958 (4th), 1962 (7th), 1966 (2nd), 1970 (3rd), 1974 (1st), 1978 (6th), 1982 (2nd), 1986 (2nd), 1990 (1st), 1994 (5th), 1998 (7th), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 45-16-17.
Record vs. USA: 3-2-0; 9 GF, 8 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: USA 2, Germany 0 in Guadalajara, Mexico; July 30, 1999 (Moore, Olsen)
Manager: Rudi Voller (GER)
Championship Honors: 1954, 1974 & 1990 World Cup champions; 1972, 1980 & 1996 European Cup champions
Key Players: Oliver Bierhoff (F, AS Monaco), Mehmet Scholl (M, Bayern Munich), Oliver Kahn (GK, Bayern Munich)

Fast Facts: Continued their perfect qualification record in 2002, qualifying for their 15th overall World Cup finals (second only to Brazil’s 17 appearances) … Won three World Cups as West Germany, which is second only to Brazil’s four titles … Only country to make it to the championship game in three consecutive World Cups (doing so from 1982 to 1990) … Michael Ballack led the team with five goals in the 2002 campaign, while goalkeeper Oliver Kahn continues to backstop the German defense.  

IRELAND Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 18th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 2” (7-0-3; 23 GF, 5 GA); defeated Iran in UEFA/Asian home-and-home playoff 2-1 on aggregate score.
2001 Overall Record: 7-1-2.
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1990 (9th), 1994 (16th), 2002.
Overall Record in WC: 1-3-5
Record vs. USA: 3-2-2; 14 GF, 11 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: USA 1, Ireland 1 in Foxboro, Mass.; June 6, 2000 (Razov; Foley)
Manager: Mick McCarthy (IRE)
Key Players: Roy Keane (M, Manchester United), Robbie Keane (F, Leeds United), Matt Holland (Ipswich Town)

Fast Facts: Went undefeated in Group 2 qualifying play, including two draws against Portugal and a 1-0 home win against Holland … Surrendered just five goals in qualifying, the fourth-lowest total in Europe … Surprisingly, are making just their third World Cup appearance … Mick McCarthy’s team is led by Roy and Robbie Keane (no relation), with Roy still patrolling the midfield for Manchester United and Robbie leading the strikeforce at Leeds United.

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