Thursday, June 3, 2010

3 June 2002 - The Not-So-Beautiful Game

On 3 June 2002, Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo helped lead his side to a 2-1 win over Turkey in their opening match of the 2002 World Cup. Rivaldo scored the winning goal with an 87th-minute penalty kick, but he overshadowed that goal by faking an injury in second-half stoppage time that resulted in a red card for Turkey's Hakan Ünsal.

The card came in the 94th minute, with Brazil having just won a corner kick. Rivaldo stood next to the flag while Ünsal kicked the ball over to him. It hit Rivaldo in the thigh, but he immediately fell to the ground clutching his face. Although the linesman was standing right behind him, the officials bought the dive and issued a yellow card to Unsal. It was his second yellow of the match, so he was sent off.

FIFA later reviewed the incident and fined Rivaldo 11,000 Swiss francs, which was less than half a day's wage under his contract with Barcelona, his club at the time. Rivaldo expressed no remorse, however, stating "I don't regret anything. This is something that will never end in football," and claiming that FIFA simply chose to make an example of him.

Brazil went on to win the trophy, beating Germany 2-0 in the Final. Rivaldo finished the tournament tied with Germany's Miroslav Klose as the second-highest scorer with 5 goals and was selected to the All-Star squad.

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