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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
World glimpses new order
Senegal's El Hadji Diouf holds off the challenge of Turkey's Fatih Akyel
Senegal and Turkey threatened the old order
BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty

The World Cup of surprises ended with a foregone conclusion - Ronaldo reaching his date with destiny as Brazil beat Germany to take the trophy back to its spiritual home.

It was a fitting conclusion to a tournament that will not be remembered as one of the finest, but a World Cup that has been a huge success for Korea and Japan.

The co-host concept worked beyond all expectations, helped to a large extent by the excellent performances by the surprise teams of South Korea and Japan.

And setting aside the ticketing fiasco that saw empty seats at stadia that should have been sold out, it has been a wonderful voyage of discovery.

The old order may have been restored in the final, but the newcomers made an indelible mark on football's new age and hinted at greater things to come in the future.

South Korea's Guus Hiddink
Hiddink achieved miracles with South Korea

Senegal were a sensation, with Liverpool new boy El-Hadji Diouf a star, beating holders France in the opening game and making huge statements on behalf of African football before losing in the quarter-final to an excellent Turkey side.

But the biggest surprise of all came from South Korea, brilliantly led by Guus Hiddink and inspired by the 'Be The Reds' fanatics who turned every game into sporting theatre.

Their achievements may have been down-graded by the bleatings of Italy and Spain - who admittedly had grievances over poor decisions - but their graceless exits should not be allowed to damage Korea's achievement.

Ahn Jung-Hwan created one of the World Cup's most emotive moments when he scored the Golden Goal winner against Italy, the player almost overcome in the emotion of the moment.

England goalkeeper David Seaman's tears after his error in the quarter-final defeat against Brazil will be another image that will live on.

But at least Sven-Goran Eriksson's side had the knowledge that they were beaten by the eventual winners.

The drama in South Korea and the success of Philippe Troussier's Japan was the embodiment of how this tournament has worked for the co-hosts, from the spectacular stadia to the friendly hospitality of the hosts.

Those of us based in Japan were greeted by an endless supply of enthusiasm, courtesy and good organisation - as well as unending friendliness and unquestioning co-operation.

The duel between Ronaldo and Kahn enthralled throughout the 2002 World Cup
Ronaldo and Kahn were two of the final's key figures

There may have been a lack of great games and great players - Brazil apart - but that is not the fault of the hosts.

This World Cup will be remembered for Brazilian brilliance and German resilience, as well as those humid nights in Korea when four million people watched big screens and spine-tingling atmospheres greeted the opposition.

It will be remembered for Africa's development and Turkey's emergence as a true power.

It will be remembered for the glorious re-invention of Ronaldo, a broken superstar who restored his status on the greatest stage of all.

And most of all, it will be remembered with happy memories and as a great success.

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