At that time the population of Brazil was around 90 million. It has since almost doubled.
Perhaps the main lesson the class of 2002 can teach is that, if you want to win World Cups, it is advisable to be a nation of more than 170 million where football is the only mass sport.
It certainly increases the chances of unearthing someone like Ronaldo, whose return has transformed the Brazil team from water to wine.
There is a terrifying aspect to Brazil's third consecutive World Cup final appearance: they still have enormous room for improvement.
Domestic Brazilian football is operating way below its potential. Chaos and corruption are rife. Terrace culture is horribly stagnant. Attendances are often low, and stadia and facilities are outdated.
There is much that Brazilian football can learn from the rest of the world, but its glorious tradition is based on overcoming problems with improvised solutions.
And, in one way, they have been able to reap benefit from the things which hold them back.
There is universal agreement that Brazilian football needs to sort out its calendar. At present there are a plethora of competitions and hundreds of games to be played.
A few years ago, Juninho played two games on the same night for Sao Paulo. It is not unheard of for teams to play four games in a week.
In order to deal with the insane workload, physical preparation in Brazil has been raised to an art form.
So many of the 2002 favourites crashed out complaining of tiredness at the end of a long season. Brazil made no such complaints.
Rather than lose players, they gained Ronaldo, who got through seven games in magnificent style after all his injury problems.
This was probably the biggest, strongest, fittest team to have represented Brazil in a World Cup. And, when strength and lung- power are added to the odd flash of genius, the World Cup ends up in worthy hands.