I bet you thought we were history! Far from it! Sorry that it has been so long since we checked in with an episode of the Jersey Gallery; it was February when we came through last – a pre Covid-19 world for most of us! Alas, a quarter of a year later, FFS has turned 4 yet the world is vastly different place! I would just like to take this moment to spare a thought and a prayer for those who have had family, friends, loved ones and people close to them who have been affected by the pandemic and to also thank you for continuing to help this brand: FFS, go from strength to strength! This publication looks back at one of the international classics of this century! Not only for its timeless appearance but also its place that is forever etched in the history of its nation; Episode 8 looks back at the era of the 2002-03 Brazil home shirt!
THE STORY OF THE SEASON(s):
LAST PREPARATIONS FOR THE WORLD CUP…
Brazil continued preparation for the World Cup in their new home strip against Saudi Arabia. Djalminha’s free-kick was enough to seal a 1-0 win over the home side to bring Luis Felipe Scolari’s side to 2 wins out of 2 to kick off 2002. At home against Iceland a month later, the experimental outfit would be far more impressive as the Brazilian Serie A based: Gilberto Silva, Kaka, Kleberson, Anderson Polga and Edilson all got on the scoresheet in a 6-1 win in Cuiaba. The sterner test of Yugoslavia was met with a stronger line up featuring the likes of: Lucio, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Roque Junior, Emerson, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, however, it was Gremio’s Luizao who came off the bench to score the deciding goal in a 1-0 win in Fortaleza. With 4 W’s in the bag, their hardest test ahead of the trip to the Far East would be against Portugal on April 17th. A 1-1 draw would unfold between two of the favourite’s to go far at the World Cup, and then 10 days before they kicked off against Turkey on June 3rd; Brazil would put 4 past Malaysia.
Of Brazil’s 23 man squad, 13 were Brazilian based, while the remaining 10 were amongst the finest footballers on earth plying their trade at Europe’s most biggest clubs. The 23 would be comprised of: Marcos, Cafu, Lúcio, Roque Júnior, Edmílson, Roberto Carlos, Ricardinho, Gilberto Silva, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Dida, Juliano Belletti, Ânderson Polga, Kléberson, Júnior, Denílson, Vampeta, Juninho Paulista, Edílson, Luizão, Rogério Ceni and Kaká. Although his season with Inter Milan was again stifled with injury; the national team would breathe a sigh of relief as Ronaldo was declared fit for the competition, and would be boosted by the form he exhibited in his small stint at the end of the season for Inter as they came within an ear-shot of winning the Scudetto.
THE QUEST TO BECOME 5 TIME WORLD CHAMPIONS IN THE FAR EAST…
Drawn in Group C, they would contest against: Turkey, Costa Rica and China all in South Korea and anything less than a clean sweep would surely bring the critics back out in their droves who were so vocal during 2001. Of the 23: Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Denilson and Dida were all a part of the squad that lost in the final of France ’98 and were no doubt further incentivised by that heartbreak to go all the way this time out.
Turkey had proven in their showing at Euro 2000 that they were not going to be a pushover for the ‘Selecao’ and that was further affirmed when Hasan Sas gave them the lead on the stroke of half-time. Ronaldo would step up to the plate to equalise just after the interval, before a late Rivaldo penalty got Brazil off to a winning start in Ulsan, South Korea. The performance would be spoiled just a tad by the ridiculous simulation by Rivaldo who feigned a facial injury at the corner flag when the ball was kicked at his leg by Hakan Unsal. While derided at the time, it does make for one of the more light-heartedly memorable moments of the competition, even if Turkish fans may still think otherwise!
Next up would be China at the Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo. Brazil were merciless as they went 3-0 up by half-time! Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho all scored, before Ronaldo added the 4th in the 2nd half. Qualification for the Round of 16 would be assured with a win over Costa Rica on June 13th. A thrilling game unfolded at the Suwon World Cup Stadium as Ronaldo scored a 13 minute brace, followed by an Edmilson strike to make it 3-0 after 38 minutes! Paulo Wanchope would pull a goal back within a minute, before Ronald Gomez made reduced the arrears to 3-2 10 minutes after the restart! Rivaldo and Junior would erase any doubt shortly after, as their respective goals earnt Brazil a 5-2 win a group bragging rights ahead of Turkey.
They’d meet Group H runners-up: Belgium on June 17th at the Kobe Wing Stadium. With historical and population ties to ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’, Japan would almost be a second home for the 4-time World Cup winners. It took patience, however the code would be cracked as Rivaldo made the breakthrough after the 67 minute mark, before Ronaldo made it 2-0 late on with his 5th goal of the competition. Next in wait would be the fan’s dream match as England stood between Brazil and a place in the semi-final!
DESTINY MEETING IN SHIZUOKA…
Nearly 48,000 fans filled the Stadium Ecope in Shizuoka on June 21st for the afternoon kick-off. The last time Brazil and England had met at a World Cup was at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Brazil held the historic advantage of never having lost to England at the World Cup, with the two nations also meeting at the 1962 and 1958 iterations; however, in David Beckham, there was a player who was even popular than Ronaldo in Japan with ‘Beckham-Mania’ becoming a force in its own right, and with Japan being eliminated, England would become the co-host country’s newly adopted favourite team!
Michael Owen would give England the lead, however, Rivaldo would score for a 5th game in a row, to equalise in first half stoppage time. In one of the most memorable events of the competition; Ronaldinho, after showing his brilliance in securing the assist for Rivaldo’s equaliser, would score an utterly stupendous 40 yard free-kick that dumbfounded David Seaman! Whether or not intentional; this would become one of the seminal moments in the history of the World Cup! He would then enhance his legend further by getting sent off 7 minutes later! Still, his ingenuity over 57 minutes would be enough to gift Brazil a 2-1 win over England, and a place in the semi-final.
THE REMATCH WITH TURKEY…
A familiar foe lay in wait at an over 61,000 capacity Saitama Arena: Turkey. Brazil’s group stage adversary chased them all the way to the semi-final after having beaten co-hosts Japan and fellow surprise package Senegal. It would be once again another tight that would be decided by just the single goal, but this time, thankfully devoid of the Rivaldo theatrics. Ronaldo would net goal number 6 of the tournament just after half-time and send Brazil to their third straight FIFA World Cup Final!
For the 3rd FIFA World Cup in a row; Brazil would be in the final, and it would be European opposition again, with Germany looking to match Brazil’s 4 World Cup triumphs. Germany were of course the champions of the world as recently as 1990, before Brazil reclaimed the crown 4 years later.
An attendance of 69,029 filled the International Stadium in Yokohama on June 30th 2002 for 17th FIFA World Cup Final and the first ever to be held in Asia. Germany would put their peerless defence that had conceded just once in all 6 of their games en route to the final against a Brazil side that netted 16 times by contrast. If that wasn’t flavoursome enough; the field would boast the competitions 3 highest goal-scorers in Ronaldo who had 6, and then both Rivaldo and Miroslav Klose who had 5 apiece.
The immovable object of ‘Der Meinschafft’ would hold the irresistible force of the ‘Selecao’ at the break as the 2 sides left at half-time goalless. Oliver Khan’s immense run without conceding a finally ended at approximately 430 minutes when Ronaldo made the breakthrough for Brazil 67 minutes into the contest! One of football’s great redemption stories would culminate with ‘El Fenomeno’ completing a brace late on, as Brazil atoned for the disappointment of France 98, and became the champions of the world for a 5th Time! Ronaldo would win the Golden Boot with his fine 8 strikes, Rivaldo would be the only player to scoop up 3 Man of the Match awards, while Cafu became the first and only individual in the sport (even to this day) to have ever participated in 3 consecutive World Cup Final matches! Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo would also take their place in the competition’s All-Star Team.
The close season for many of the heroes of the World Cup triumph in the summer of 2002 as Ronaldo became the latest Real Madrid ‘Galactico’ as he joined the European Champions, meanwhile, Rivaldo would leave Barcelona to join AC Milan. Gilberto Silva was given the chance to further his celebrity on the European stage as he joined the Premiership winners: Arsenal. It wasn’t all hunky-dory post their World Cup triumph as in their first return to action post-World Cup 2002; they were beaten 1-0 by Paraguay in a friendly in Fortaleza on August 21st. Still, the year of 2002 would end on a high as they beat South Korea 3-2 in a fine friendly at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul on November 20th. This game would prove to be Luiz Felipe Scolari’s final game in charge of the country as he agreed to manage the Portuguese national team from 2003.
2003: THE CARLOS ALBERTO PARREIRA ERA, TAKE 3…
Carlos Alberto Parreira returned for his 3rd stint as the head coach of the Brazilian national team; most recently in 1994, when he masterminded Brazil’s World Cup victory in the United States. 2003 would signal a very busy 2001-esque schedule for the newly minted champions of the world as they would begin qualification (and defence of their title) for the World Cup in 2006 that was to be held in Germany, meanwhile, there would also be participation in both the Confederations Cup that was held in France and the Gold Cup that was co-hosted by the United States and Mexico, not to mention the friendly circuit also. Ronaldo would come into the New Year having been crowned as the 2002 FIFA World Player of the Year and as the winner of the 2002 iteration of the Ballon d’Or, in what was his 2nd and 3rd respective crowning of those esteemed accolades.
‘The Selecao’ regathered for their first game of 2003 on February 12th, and with their popularity at an all-time high in Asia; they’d be reunited with their World Cup glory once again as they had a rematch against China in front of 80,000 fans in Tianhe Stadium. Unlike their Group Stage affair 8 months earlier, this game would end 0-0. One month later, they would arrive in Europe to meet Portugal in the last ever international game to played at FC Porto’s Estadio das Antas! Their European counterparts, of course now under Scolari’s tutelage, would win 2-1 in the friendly contest.
Although the European domestic season had not concluded; a near full strength team gathered for a rehearsal of their Gold Cup opener against Mexico on May 1st in Guadalajara. Another poor showing would see Brazil play out their second goalless draw of the year. 8 days out from their Confederations Cup opener against Cameroon on June 19th; Brazil would finally get their first win of the new regime when they beat Nigeria 3-0 in Abuja. With the Gold Cup getting underway just 2 short weeks after a potential appearance in the Confederations Cup Final; the squad selected for the tournament in France vastly differed to the one that won the World Cup 12 months earlier. In fact, only: Dida, Lúcio, Ricardinho, Ronaldinho, Juliano Belletti and Kléberson were amongst the 23-man squad that won the World Cup in 2002. This gave the Carlos Alberto Parreira the chance to blood the likes of: Juan, Adriano, Julio Cesar and Luis Fabiano (all of whom became mainstays in the national side in the future) at a major tournament.
CONFEDERATIONS CUP CATASTROPHE…
Drawn in Group B alongside: Cameroon, Turkey, and the United States; the World Champions, in-spite of their inexperienced squad, were still expected to breach the semi-final at a bare minimum. They would kick-off on June 19th against the champions of Africa: Cameroon at the Stade de France; the site of their infamous defeat in the Final of the World Cup in 1998. The chance to move on from that blemish in the history of the national side was missed, as Samuel Eto’o scored a late winner in a famous 1-0 victory for Cameroon.
Brazil would bounce back with a 1-0 win of their own against the Gold Cup co-hosts: The United States of America; with Adriano scoring the deciding goal in the June 21st clash in Lyon. This set the stage for the rubber match between Brazil and Turkey; could Brazil make it 3 straight wins over Turkey, or would the ever-improving 3rd placed side at the 2002 FIFA World Cup get their revenge? A thrilling contest in the neighbouring Saint-Etienne on June 23rd ended 2-2, with Alex scoring a last-minute equaliser. Despite both nations finishing on 4 points each and an identical goal difference; Brazil were embarrassingly eliminated in the Group Stage by way of Turkey’s superior goals scored statistic!
GOLD CUP COMMISSORATIONS…
Fortunately for the disgraced World Champions, they had the opportunity to atone for their poor showing in France by winning the Gold Cup. If their Confederations Cup team was daring, then their navigation of the Gold Cup would be even more-so as Brazil’s adventure in the United States and Mexico would be overseen by Under-23 coach Ricardo Gomes and he took a squad entirely comprised of players under the age of 23 as Brazil looked to win that elusive Olympic Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in 2004 that were to be held in Athens.
There were still some fine individuals such as: Heurelho Gomes, Maicon, Luisao, Alex, Adriano Correa, Julio Baptista, Kaka, Ewerthon, Diego, Robinho, Nilmar, Carlos Alberto and Thiago Motta. There was also a huge sense of domestic pride as 21 of the 23 players all plied their trade at the time in Brazil, meanwhile: Luisao, Kaka and Baptista had moves to Benfica, AC Milan and Sevilla respectively, to look forward to after the tournament concluded.
Drawn in Group A alongside Mexico and Honduras; Brazil met the co-hosts Mexico in the tournament curtain raiser in front of 75,000 supporters inside of the Estadio Azteca on July 13th, and it seemed like Groundhog Day for Brazil as they would fall 1-0 again in the opener of a major competition. 2 days later, in front of just 3,000 fans in the Aztec Stadium; they would beat Honduras 2-1 thanks to goals from Maicon and Diego. Brazil would reach the semi-final following Honduras and Mexico’s 0-0 draw to set up a quarter final with fellow South American invitee: Colombia.
Now playing in Miami; Kaka would score a brace to see off Colombia on July 19th to set up a semi-final against the United States. Kaka would rescue Brazil again with his 89th minute equaliser, before Diego netted a penalty in extra time to earn a come-from-behind 2-1 win and a rematch with Mexico in the July 27th Finale. Now in front of 85,000 spectators at the Estadio Azteca; the game would be a 0-0 stalemate after 90 minutes, however, it would be heartbreak again as Daniel Osorno scored for Mexico in extra time to win the title for the hosts.
LET THE DEFENCE OF THE WORLD CUP BEGIN…
After a less than stellar 2003; the real test was to qualify for Germany 2006, and that journey began on September 7th away against Colombia. Ronaldo and Kaka would score in a 2-1 win in Barranquilla, and then 2 days later, on home soil, they would get past Ecuador 1-0 to get the campaign off to the best possible start.
In their final friendly contest of 2003, a game Jamaica side would be beaten 1-0 in a friendly match hosted at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester on October 12th, before World Cup qualification resumed against Peru on November 16th. 80,000 fans inside of National Stadium in Lima would bear witness to a 1-1 draw, and then in the final game of the year, and the last time this home shirt was ever worn; Brazil would host their old-rivals: Uruguay in Curitiba.
A thrilling affair began with Brazil going 2-0 ahead after just 28 minutes with Kaka, now a mainstay of the national side after his fine performances at the Gold Cup and his seamless integration into European football, and Ronaldo scoring. An incredible second half saw Diego Forlan bag a 9 minute brace to equalise, before Gilberto Silva’s own-goal made it 3-2 to the visitors! Ronaldo would complete his own brace at the death to see this thriller end 3-3!
MY MEMORIES OF THE SHIRT:
Firstly, let me begin by saying if you read all of that, thank you! It brought a lot of memories of my pre-teen childhood back, especially the 2002 World Cup segment! The shirt itself admittedly doesn’t bring as many memories back as it the majesty of the strip deserves, I regret to say. With my support firmly pledged to the likes of: Argentina, Spain and Italy; Brazil, as the ‘peoples favourites’ seemed the somewhat boring choice, despite the dearth extra-terrestrial talent at their disposal. As I got older though, I began to appreciate the squad and the strip in much more abundance, and now, I would suggest that this is the best Brazil football shirt released in the 21st century!
The Nike and Brazil relationship, while synonymous, there is only one other Brazil home shirt that truly rivals this one and this is the one which was used between 1998-00, or known more commonly as the World Cup 98 home shirt. The home shirts used at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the even lesser known 2016 Copa America shirts are the next in line for me, but even those, I place comfortably beneath the 2002 World Cup home shirt.
This template of Nike’s will always remain one of its greatest; and I’m really surprised given that it has not been reprised in some capacity 18 years later. There were two templates, this one and the template that you saw Manchester United and Arsenal’s home shirts between 2002-04 utilised with, whereby the inside panels were filled and there was no strip coming down the arms. In this instance, Nike, for sure used the correct template! Firstly, the yellow was bright and illuminsecent, and then the green applications were used perfectly, including the subtlety of not colouring the thin collar in green. As majestic as the shirt is to be seen on its own, it takes on another depth when you see the players wearing the strip! To see Ronaldo win the World Cup after all the hoopla surrounding the Final of 1998 is truly one of the sport’s feel good moments!
We are fortunate enough to stock one of these shirts in size extra large! The shirt comes in fine condition for its age, however, as per the sizing of shirts from the early 2000’s, it’s dimensions are bigger than your conventional size extra large of today’s standards! You can view the product here:
I conclude by once again saying thank you visiting and reading, and here is a photo of yours truly in the version of the ensemble used the 2002 World Cup Final!
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