Brazil celebrate winning the tournament..

The 2002 World Cup Team of the Tournament featured some surprising names

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The latest World Cup is less than a year away and after the goal sprees of the 2014 instalment in Brazil, there's plenty of reason to be excited. 

While international football can leave a lot to be desired outside of tournaments, there's a romanticism to the World Cup that even club football's premier competitions can't offer.

It's no accident that the 1966 victory remains such an iconic moment in the history of English football even if the achievements of Bobby Moore and co. are now distant memories.

There's little hope for the Three Lions in Russia next year but after failing to emerge from the group stages last time out, fans can at least keep their fingers crossed for signs of progress.

That being said, even the World Cup isn't immune to major upsets and the 2002 competition in Japan and South Korea serves as a shining example.

Although massive favourites Brazil did, in the end, lift the trophy, hosts South Korea and surprise package Turkey both made it all the way to the semi finals. That's not to mention Senegal scoring an opening game victory over world champions France, either.

As a result, that year's team of the tournament threw up it's fair share of shocks - check it out:

GK | Oliver Kahn

No surprises here. Kahn became the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to win the Golden Ball for his performances in the Far East but was ultimately at fault for Ronaldo's opener in the final.

Germany's midfielder Michael Ballack (L) and goalk

GK | Rüştü Reçber

Who? Having only played in Turkey before the tournament, Reçber's impressive performances in 2002 eventually earned him a move to Barcelona for whom he made four league appearances.

DF | Sol Campbell

The only England player to make the cut, Campbell was fresh from winning the league with Arsenal and scored for the Three Lions against Sweden in the group stages.

Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand celebrate

DF | Fernando Hierro

One of the few Spaniards in the famous Real Madrid 'Galacticos' squad, Hierro transferred the form that saw him lift the Champions League that year to his international duties.

DF | Hong Myung-bo

A veteran in the South Korea squad by 2002, Myung-bo was the rock of a team that brushed aside Italy and Spain. Played a single season with LA Galaxy before retiring.

Referee Urs Meier (R) of Switzerland waves off a q

DF | Alpay Özalan

Ring any bells Aston Villa fans? The Turkish centre-back took residence at Villa Park during the tournament and would go onto amass 90 caps for his country.

DF | Roberto Carlos

No surprises with this inclusion, Carlos went all the way in 2002 amid a Brazil team dripping with talent and even scored a trademark free-kick against China in the group stages. What a player.

Brazil's Roberto Carlos (L) is congratulated by te

MD | Michael Ballack

Ballack's inclusion in this team was a mere palliative for a season that saw defeat in the Champions League final, German Cup climax and World Cup final - ouch.

MD | Claudio Reyna

From Sunderland to the World Cup team of the tournament. The United States caused a few surprises on their way to the quarter finals and Reyna, who eventually moved to Manchester City, was key to this.

USA captain Claudio Reyna drapes himself in an Ame

MD | Rivaldo

Three years on from winning the Ballon d'Or, Rivaldo remained one of the best players in the world in 2002 and victory in Japan/Korea closed his decorated Barcelona career perfectly.

MD | Ronaldinho

The making of a legend. Ronaldinho was the youthful energy in a star-studded Brazilian midfield that mowed down its rivals with their 22-year-old magician firing the winner past England.


MD | Yoo Sang-chul

Another member of the South Korea squad that simply refused to quit and the engine in their midfield. Sang-chul played in his native country for the remainder of his career.

ST | El Hadji Diouf

Liverpool fans probably regret ever seeing this name in the team of the tournament with his performances in the Far East earning him a move to Anfield. Scored the winner in the famous 2-1 defat of France.

El Hadji Diouf of Senegal

ST | Miroslav Klose

Five goals and five headers - Klose announced himself to the world in 2002 as the supreme poacher and he would go on to become the World Cup's all time top scorer.

ST | Ronaldo

Best player at the tournament. Period.


ST | Hasan Şaş

The attacking force behind a Turkey team that came so close to going all the way to the final, Şaş found the net twice in 2002 with one strike coming against the mighty Brazil. Spent most of his career at Galatasaray.

How far do you think England will go at the 2018 World Cup? Have your say in the comments section below.

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