BBC SPORT | WORLD CUP 2002    BBC Sport >>   High Graphics >>
Front Page | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | History |
Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK

Shocks thrill Blatter

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says he is delighted by the number of giant-killing acts at this World Cup.

The plight of football's "superpowers" has been one of the most notable features of the competition in Korea and Japan.

Reigning champions France, favourites Argentina and Euro 2000 semi-finalists Portugal were all knocked out in the first round.

South Korea have beaten Italy and Spain in the knock-out stages.

Blatter said this World Cup showed how his efforts to develop the game worldwide had worked.

" What strikes me most about this World Cup is that even the greatest of teams can be humbled if they are not ideally prepared "
Sepp Blatter
Fifa president

"It just goes to show that all the developmental work started by Joao Havelange (former Fifa chief) and then taken up by myself is bearing fruit.

"Differences that existed between countries in terms of money available, training facilities and personnel have been reduced.

"What strikes me most about this World Cup is that even the greatest of teams can be humbled if they are not ideally prepared.

"I do not want to lay myself open again to charges of being anti-European, but I find that a good thing."

Blatter was easily-re-elected to a new four-year term as secretary-general of Fifa before the finals began.

A major reason was his popularity among the smaller nations in Fifa.

Blatter remains at loggerheads with Uefa, the governing body for European football, which argues he is trying to reduce the influence of European football.


^ Back to top   © BBC