Friday May 31st, 2002
France vs Senegal in Seoul (0:1)
After four years of waiting, the 2002 World Cup finally kicked off
in Seoul, with World and European Champions France taking on newcomers Senegal.
Senegal lined up for their first World Cup finals match with a very
defensive outlook, while the defending champions offered plenty of attacking options.
On paper it looked like the makings of a stalemate.
With Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, David Trezeguet up front and
Youri Djorkaeff - in for the injured Zidane - orchestrating behind them, Senegal needed a
strong rearguard most of the time. Even Tony Sylva came to the edge of his area to head
away danger on a number of occasions.
Senegal kicked the tournament off and earned an early free-kick.
Fabien Barthez, who has proved far from reliable for Manchester United this season, had
his first touch of the ball and seemed to look upfield for applause from his
team-mates..... he actually held the ball.
Senegal didn't take long to show how they intended to play this
game..... dampen France's firepower and strike on the counter.
As early as the 6th minute, El Hadji Diouf was already behind the
French defence. France looked slow to read the danger and seemed to believe that their
strikeforce would outweigh their defensive slowness of foot.
As much as Thierry Henry on the left and Sylvain Wiltord on the right
searched forward, they couldn't provide the ammunition for David Trezeguet..... or rather
Trezeguet couldn't find the space he needed.
While Youri Djorkaeff tried equally hard to create something from
midfield and Emmanuel Petit wasted his corners, the French showed that they clearly missed
Maybe France could have gone ahead on a few occasions, if Tony Sylva
hadn't been so alert to every danger.
Quite frankly, France can only blame themselves for this defeat. They
couldn't deal with the pace of El Hadji Diouf, who had already been called offside a
couple of times, and paid for it in the 30th minute.
The troublesome El Hadji Diouf wriggled his way behind Frank Leboeuf, on the left, and
crossed into the middle of the French area. As the ball bobbled, between Emmanuel Petit
and Fabien Barthez, Pape Bouba Diop - sitting on the floor - hooked the ball into an empty
net..... to give the African newcomers the lead against France.
France tried to regain their compusure but Senegal closed them down
and frustrated them in their search for space to be creative. Thierry Henry likes to run
at goal and not into a wall of defenders.
Youri Djorkaeff offered hope with a direct free-kick in the 38th
minute but Tony Sylva was equal to it, getting down well to collect the ball before it
could pass between him and his left post.
The tactic of packing the defence and getting long-balls up to Diouf
worked well. The French defence were caught flat-footed on numerous occassions and their
forwards lacked spark.
The first yellow card of the tournament was given to France's Emmanuel Petit, for a rough
chalenge on El Hadji Diouf, just before the break.
Half-time: France 0 - Senegal 1
France didn't come out in the second-half with much of a different
approach, instead we were treated to a nice drum-rhythm in the background from the Senegal
fans; who were understandably happy to be in front against the World Champions.
Youri Djorkaeff was replaced by Christophe Dugarry on the hour but it
did little to add inspiration to their game.
Khalilou Fadiga struck the French crossbar in the 65th minute, to
sound a warning that they were very much looking for a second goal, and a minute later
Thierry Henry turned and dropped a curling shot on the bar as well.
With ten minutes left, France tried to add some fresh legs to the
equation.... Sylvain Wiltord making way for Djibril Cisse.
But it was not be. Senegal survived the final onslaught and the whole
of French West Africa shared in their delight.
Congratulations to Senegal for beating the World and European
Champions in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup.
France 0 -
Man of the Match:
Tony Sylva - The Senegal goalkeeper helped his country to create the biggest opening day
upset since Cameroon beat Argentina 1-0, in Italia 90.
Argentina recovered from this defeat and went on to reach the Final,
so it's not all over for France..... but the day belongs to Senegal, who led from the
Emmanuel Petit (45 mins)
Aliou Cisse (51 mins)
16 Fabien Barthez; 15 Lilian Thuram, 8 Marcel Desailly, 18 Frank Leboeuf, 3 Bixente
Lizarazu; 4 Patrick Vieira, 17 Emmanuel Petit, 6 Youri Djorkaeff (21 Christophe Dugarry -
60 mins); 11 Sylvain Wiltord (9 Djibril Cisse - 81 mins), 20 David Trezeguet, 12 Thierry
1 Tony Sylva; 2 Oumar Daf, 4 Pape Malick Diop, 13 Lamine Diatta, 6 Aliou Cisse, 17
Ferdinand Coly; 10 Khalilou Fadiga, 15 Salif Diao, 19 Pape Bouba Diop, 14 Moussa N'Diaye;
11 El Hadji Diouf.
Referee: Ali Bujsaim
Previous World Cup Opening Games
France 98 - Brasil vs Scotland (2:1)
USA 94 - Germany vs Bolivia (1:0)
Italia 90 - Cameroon vs Argentina (1:0)
Mexico 86 - Italy vs Bulgaria (1:1)
Spain 82 - Belgiun vs Argentina (1:0)
Argentina 78 - West Germany vs Poland (0:0)
West Germany 74 - Brazil vs Yugoslavia (0:0)
Mexico 70 - Mexico vs Soviet Union (0:0)
England 66 - England vs Uruguay (0:0)
Chile 62 - Chile vs Switzerland (3:1)
Sweden 58 - Sweden vs Mexico (3:0)
Switzerland 54 - Yugoslavia vs France
Brazil 1950 - Brazil vs Mexico (4:0)
France 1938 - Germany vs Switzerland (1:1)
Italy 1934 - Germany vs Belgium (5:2)
Uruguay 1930 - France vs Mexico (4:1)
Denmark, France, Senegal, Uruguay.
Paraguay, Slovenia, Spain,
Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Turkey.
South Korea, United States.
Korea First Round Matches.
Cameroon, Germany, Republic of Ireland,
Argentina, England, Nigeria, Sweden.
Croatia, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico.
Belgium, Japan, Russia, Tunisia.
Japan First Round Matches.
2002 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
Group Tables - Leading Goalscorers.
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