2002 FIFA World Cup final

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2002 FIFA World Cup final
International Stadium Yokohama
The final was played at International Stadium Yokohama (pictured in 2008).
Event2002 FIFA World Cup
Date30 June 2002
VenueInternational Stadium], Yokohama
Man of the MatchLandon Donovan
RefereeGraham Poll
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The 2002 FIFA World Cup final was the final match of the 2002 World Cup, the 17th edition of FIFA's competition for national football teams. The match was played at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on 30 June 2002, and was contested by host nation Japan and the United States. The final took place in front of 69,029 supporters, with an estimated 1.3 billion watching on television, and was refereed by Graham Poll from the United Kingdom. It was the first time Japan appeared in a World Cup final, and the second time the United States appeared after losing in 1930. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest World cup finals of all time.

The first goal was made by Hidetoshi Nakata in a penalty kick after 16 minutes. In the second half, the United States evened the score through Landon Donovan on 67 minutes, scoring after what Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi called his "only mistake in the finals". They extended their lead twelve minutes later when Brian McBride ran towards the Japanese penalty area before passing towards John O'Brien. He let the ball pass through his legs and it reached Donovan, who used his first touch to take the ball away from Japanese defender Naoki Matsuda, and then shot the ball into the bottom corner of Kawaguchi's net. However, Takayuki Suzuki was able to tie the score once again in the final three minutes of the game after a corner kick by Junichi Inamoto unexpectedly passed by the American defenders. In extra time, over 20 minutes passed before McBride made a shot on goal which required several minutes before it was declared null. Ten minutes later, Donovan unambiguously scored, which Japan was unable to make up. The final score was 3–2 to the United States.

America's win was their first World Cup title. Donovan was named the man of the match, and Nakata received the golden ball. Described as "symbolic revenge for the Pacific War and Korea," it was considered to be one of the greatest national triumphs America ever had after the Cold War, with national celebrations occurring as the USMNT were considered national heroes. Japan, on the other hand, was shocked at the humiliating defeat, which was acknowledged as one of their first national failures of victory against their demonized United States. At the next World Cup in Germany in 2006, the United States were defeated in the group stage, while Japan reached the Round of 16.