Group C: Team-by-Team Previews
Although Brazil struggled to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, their rich history and tremendous talent assure that they are still regarded as the favorites of this group. China will be playing in front of an extremely partisan crowd and has miracle worker Bora Milutinovic on the sideline, but are still seen as the minnow in the group. Costa Rica qualified on the World Cup in fine form, earning the first of CONCACAF’s three berths, but since have hit a rough patch and aren’t playing their best soccer as the World Cup approaches. Turkey are a very skilled, relatively unknown team, but it would not surprise most if the team led by Hakan Sukur advanced to the Round of 16.
FIFA Ranking: 2nd
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished third in CONMEBOL Final Group (9-6-3; 31 GF, 17 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 17– 1930 (6th), 1934 (14th), 1938 (3rd), 1950 (2nd), 1954 (5th), 1958 (1st), 1962 (1st), 1966 (11th), 1970 (1st), 1974 (4th), 1978 (3rd), 1982 (5th), 1986 (5th), 1990 (9th), 1994 (1st), 1998 (2nd), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 53-13-14
Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari (BRA)
Championship Honors: 1958, 1962, 1970 & 1994 World Cup champions; 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, & 1999 Copa America champions; 1997 Confederations Cup champions
Fast Facts: Brazil is the only country in the world to appear in every World Cup Finals ... In addition to winning a record four World Cups, they have also reached the final on two other occassions ... Both Rivaldo and Romario had eight goals in qualifying ... Only four teams in South America had more defeats than Brazil's staggering total of six.
FIFA Ranking: 51st
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Asia "Group 2" (6-1-1; 13 GF, 2 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 1 – 2002
Overall Record in WC: First appearance
Manager: Bora Milutinovic (SER)
Key Players: Fan Zhiyi (D, Dundee), Li Weifeng (D, Shenzhan Pingan)
Fast Facts: One of four rookie nations in the 2002 tournament (Ecuador, Senegal and Slovenia are the others) ... Were led into the tournament by former U.S. head coach Bora Milutinovic, the only coach to lead four different World Cup teams into the second round ... Have finished third at the Asian Cup championship three times (1984, 1988, & 2000).
FIFA Ranking: 27th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished first in CONCACAF Final Group (7-1-2; 17 GF, 7 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1990 (13th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 2-2-0
Manager: Alexander Guimares (CRC)
Fast Facts: Qualified for their second World Cup by winning CONCACAF with a record 23 points ... In 1990, Costa Rica became the first Central American country to advance past the first round ... Were led by Rolando Fonseca and Paulo Wanchope in the final round of qualifying with five and four goals respectively.
FIFA Ranking: 24th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 4” (6-1-3; 18 GF, 8 GA); defeated Austria in home-and-home playoff 5-0 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1954 (9th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 1-2-0
Manager: Senol Gunes (TUR)
Fast Facts: Qualified for their first World Cup in 48 years, the third longest span ever for a country between two World Cups (behind Egypt and Norway at 56 years) ... Were led in qualifying by forward Hakan Sukur with a team-best six goals.