31 May 2002, 19:31 Seoul - Tokyo
FRANCE 0 : 1 SENEGAL
FIFA World Cup™ debutantes Senegal kicked off the 2002 edition of the world's greatest sporting event by shocking holders France 0 : 1 in Seoul, Korea through a first-half goal from Papa Bouba Diop.
The French-speaking African side came out bravely, and behind the dangerous El Hadji Diouf, proved that they were not going to be intimidated. France increased their pressure but their finishing failed to break down a solid Senegalese defence. Considering that France hit the woodwork twice, Senegal coach Bruno Metsu could not be more pleased about the end result of the long-awaited match. Never has the loss of Zidane's magic wand been felt more cruelly by the French.
Senegal did not seem intimidated at all by the FIFA World Cup holders in the early going, and El Hadji Diouf created the first chance for Senegal when he beat Marcel Desailly to the by-line and laid the ball back for Khalilou Fadiga, whose low shot rolled right to France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.
Shortly after France had a half-chance, when a Barthez punt was knocked on to a streaking David Trezeguet behind the Senegal defence. But the Juventus striker’s first touch let him down.
Trezeguet’s touch failed him again minutes later as he struck the right post with a powerful, curling shot from the top of the penalty area (24’).
Senegal shocked France with the tournament’s first goal at the half-hour mark, just when it seemed that the French offside trap had Diouf in fits. The Senegalese striker rounded Frank Leboeuf and laid a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. It took deflections from Emmanuel Petit and Barthez before sitting up wonderfully for Papa Bouba Diop, who easily knocked the ball into the open net from his backside (0:1, 30’).
After giving up the goal, France finished out the half by creating a flurry of dangerous situations, but they never managed to truly test Sylva.
France opened the second half with a string of chances. They went close when Lilian Thuram served a cross from the right side, and Trezeguet’s glancing header couldn’t stay inside the left post (55’).
France missed an even better opportunity soon after. Sylvain Wiltord served a cross from the right side, and Henry couldn’t keep his header down, sailing it over an open goal. Then it was Youri Djorkaeff’s turn to have a go. His shot from 25 metres was stopped by Sylva, who had to scramble to punch the rebound over the by-line for a corner.
Vieira then rose up to meet a corner from the right side and sent a powerful header on goal, forcing Sylva to make a nice diving save to his right (58’).
Senegal had their first good chance of the half off the foot of Fadiga, whose rocket from 10 metres caromed off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick (65’). Then Henry came right back with a shot of his own off the woodwork, the spirited action flying from end to end (66’).
France seemed to run out of steam after that, demoralized and frustrated by their inability to take advantage of so many chances, and they didn’t threaten again until stoppage time, when Henry and Leboeuf each blasted shots from inside the area, forcing two nice saves from Sylva.