Well it is finally here, after four years of waiting - World Cup 2002 has finally kicked off. We have all waited in anticipation of this event since the France 1998 version came to a halt, with Zidane lifting the Cup and the host country celebrating one of the great moments in their history.
France has now been the top dog for four years, winning Euro 2000 and then the Confederations Cup in 2001. Last year the French also added the Under-17 World Championship to their trophy case, strengthening their hold as the king of the sport.
Personally, I have always enjoyed watching to see how the individual playershandle the pressure of playing in a World Cup. In France ‘98, England's David Beckham left an image he would like to rectify in 2002. However, his teammate Michael Owen handled the situation quite well, didn't he! Brazil's Ronaldo played brilliantly at times during France ‘98, but the lasting image of Ronaldo in that tournament is his performance in the final and the controversy that surrounded it. France's Zinedine Zidane had a spectacular tournament throughout and was the dominant player on the talented National Team of France that hoisted the Cup in victory after defeating Brazil 3:0 in the final.
I’m looking forward to this World Cup to see how some of the stars turn out this World Cup … and which players will use this World Cup to vault into stardom.
Such pre-tournament stars as Portugal's Luis Figo, Spain's Raul, Japan's Hidetoshi Nakata and Shinji Ono (who missed the 2000 Sydney Olympics due to injury), Poland's Emmanuel Olisadebe, Saudi Arabia's Sami al-Jaber, USA's Claudio Reyna, Germany's Michael Ballack, Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta and Hernan Crespo, and Brazil's Rivaldo and Ronaldinho will all be under the microscope. How will they react? Will they create goals or disappointment for their country? WC 2002 has already lost one of its stars in Ireland's Roy Keane, who was given the boot by Coach McCarthy for disciplinary reasons. These are only the pre-tournament stars, which of the young talents will show us the way to the promise land?
After four years of waiting, World Cup 2002 is finally upon us. Go USA!