A new century would also see the dawn of a new World Cup, this time and for the first time as well, in Asia. With football's growing popularity, there had been many calls to stage a World Cup outside of Europe and South America with Asia looking to be more likely. Mexico, South Korea, Japan and Australia all put forward their bids to try and host the 2002 World Cup  in 1996. Mexico dropped out yet the Asian sides and Australia remained with some hoping that Australia would end up as the victor, however following the nation winning the bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2003 , Australia dropped out, much the disappointment of many Socceroo fans who were looking forward to brining the World Cup Down Under, though that would be another time.
Prior to Australia dropping out, there were talks for Japan and South Korea to co-host which would've been a first, however with both remaining the last two sides left, they would end up being rivals to try and win the bid in which in the end, Japan would win the hosting rights and thus the first Asian hosted World Cup would be played in Asia . Nonetheless despite the strange feeling for European based fans of having to watch games early in the morning due to the time difference, Japan was felt to be a good choice and with the fact it fell on the 20th anniversary of what had been Japan's best run at a World Cup in 1982 , there were hopes that more magic could be done.
The Seeded teams for 2002
With the unique nature of Japan being among the seeded teams due to being hosts, it would be the usual line-up though there was the sight of seeing South Korea also qualify in which following Japan's winning bid, there had been a feeling around Korea that Japan had left them behind in a co-host duty and they now set themselves up with the rather lofty and downright ludicrous boast that they were going to win the World Cup in Japan.
Nonetheless though, the first game of the tournament would be with champions France facing a plucky and ropey Scotland.
Final results of Group A of the 2002 World Cup
When France saw the group they ended up in, many suspected they would end up sweeping all away with perhaps the only concern being that of the United States. What following however in the opening game was a poor game with Scotland in which saw the Scots find the first goal and spent most of the game in the lead and might've won the game had it not been a late equaliser to save France from embarrassment. Alas it would only get worse for the French from then on for in their next game, the lost in a pitiful game with the United States before their shambolic defence of their title ended at the hands of South Africa which saw the French make an early exit home .
France vs Scotland in the opening match
The United States would stun many by winning the group and found themselves looking like the unlikely team to try and make a crack at the World Cup with Scotland sneaking into second place behind them despite the latter getting beat in their final group game with the Americans. With the champions already out, no one quite knew what else to expect or if this a sign of things to come...
Final results of Group B of the 2002 World Cup
Group B on paper looked to be a sure fire bet for Spain and Portugal to go through, however no one expected Senegal in their first appearance at the World Cup to upset the odds with not only getting a victory over Ecuador, but also getting a shock victory over Portugal which proved to be all they needed to progress to the next round and poor Portugal would end up being another seeded team making the early exit home .
Senegal players celebrate with victory over Portugal
One thing that was what many expected was Spain winning the group and many felt that Spain was a nation that deserved a World Cup with the talent they had in their side that could help them to glory. For now though, it was still early days yet...
Final results of Group C at the 2002 World Cup
As what everyone comes to associated with Brazil these days, the South American giants would win all their group games with it pretty much being a battle between Russian and Belgium to try and progress as the runners-up; China was never even a thing and would get absolutely destroyed by all the teams there. However it would be one of the tightest groups and Belgium and Russia ended up on level points though thanks to Russia's 3-0 victory over China, Belgium missed out on the second round by goal difference.
Belgium vs Brazil at the 2002 World Cup
Many though had suspected that Belgium might be the one to go through but Russia being the team to make it into the next round  surprised many as many felt that Belgium had a team that could be considered to be dark horses. For now though, better luck next time
Final results of Group D at the 2002 World Cup
As hosts, all eyes were on Japan with many thinking that they didn't have a good chance of getting out of the group stage. However this doubt about them would work in their favour as they couldn't have hoped for a better start when they stunned Uruguay beating them 2-0 before getting a draw with the Irish and finally signing off with a 2-1 victory over Yugoslavia in which the latter side ended up being a flop by finishing rock bottom.
Irish players celebrate on hearing the news that they have done enough to progress to the second round
The other team joining the Japanese in the next round would be Ireland and despite having off field problems such as Roy Keane's dismissal , they had done enough to make it though that said, both sides were looked upon by many as not having a chance to try and make an impact. Then again who really wanted to doubt them...?
Final results of Group E at the 2002 World Cup
Group E seemed to be E for England or as in easy as they were expected to sweep all away and come out with full points. However that thought did hit a bump in the road in their second match with Sweden by ending up with a draw though it was bad for the latter as they had suffered a shock loss to Tunisia in their opening match. Speaking of which, it would be the African side that would surprise many by going through ahead of the Swedes .
England vs Sweden in 2002
England would end up, to no one's surprise, win the group and once again showed that they were a team that was hoping to win the World Cup and with the talent and big names they had in that side, they did look like a team that meant business and who was to doubt them that they might be able to do it? Tunisia though...? Sadly no one gave them much of a thought...
Final results of Group F at the 2002 World Cup
Group F was pretty much the group of death for good reason, it had the likes of Argentina, Cameroon and Germany just to name a few. Germany though weren't actually as this was a team in transition, though despite this they somehow did more than enough to get out of the group stage with Cameroon and South Korea both failing to get out of the group stage .
Argentina's 2002 side lined up before their game with the Germans
However the real shining side in that group was Argentina who had gone into this World Cup as one of the favourites and for good reason, they would win all their group games and would progress into the next round  and were hoping that this powerful team were going to go all the way and win the World Cup. Time would tell to see if they could do it...
Final results of Group G at the 2002 World Cup
Group G would end up being a rather one-sided group with Italy winning all their games and were according to some being the team the most likely from Europe to go and win the World Cup in Japan. That said there was also the surprise performance of Turkey who manged to join Italy in next round despite not many giving Turkey much of a chance would do more than enough to go through.
Italy's Totti at the 2002 World Cup
For Paraguay and Nigeria, it would be a World Cup to forget as neither side made much of an impact and pretty much soon after left without a trace. For Italy and Turkey though, things were just getting started...
Final results of Group H at the 2002 World Cup
The final group saw quite a tough group that featured Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica and Denmark and it would end up being one of the more competitive groups at the World Cup in which saw all the teams looking like they could make it to the next round. However despite many putting Mexico down as favourites to top the group, Australia would end winning the group and Mexico would end up in second place to join the Aussies in the next round.
Australian players enjoying among themselves after their shock victory over Denmark
The real losers of the group were Denmark who despite winning the final group with Costa Rica, it proved to be too little too late as in the other game, Australia defeated Mexico which would end up seeing the Danes finish in third place which was seen as a disappointment as they had hoped to make it into the next round. With that though, all the group games were done and now it was time for the knockout stage to begin in what had been quite a World Cup full of shocks and many more looked set to follow...
 ITTL, Australia being more of a football nation put forward their bid here to host the World Cup.
 Australia host the 2003 Rugby World Cup as IOTL.
 Japan ITTL hosts the Word Cup on their own here and thus the 2002 World cup ends up still being played in Asia.
 Check back on TTL's 1982 WC.
 France still end up performing badly as in OTL.
 Portugal still end up being a flop like in OTL.
 In contrast to OTL in which Russia fail to get out of the group stage.
 Still happens as OTL.
 Sweden ends up having a worst WC here.
 One positive here...no cheating South Koreans here which means that whole drama with them is butterflied away.
 In which Argentina end up getting more luck here and do get out of the group stage in which they had the worst luck then.
Anyway, here we are and sorry for the delay, just had much to do here and I've only now gotten my holidays from work to get this update up. Hope you enjoyed the update and as of before, here is the line up for the last 16:
England vs Senegal
Italy vs Ireland
Spain vs Tunisia
Japan vs Turkey
United States vs Germany
Brazil vs Mexico
Argentina vs Scotland
Australia vs Russia
Who do you think will win and go all the way? Until then, see you soon!
In the first match of the round of 16, it would be England and Senegal to start of with. Despite their brave showing in the group, Senegal would prove to be no match for England who went on the rampage to blow away Senegal 3-0 in a game that couldn't be more perfect for England. Ferdinand opened the scoring, followed by Owen and finally Heskey scored all of England's goals in the first half and with such a first half, England didn't have to do much for the second other than hold on .
Once again, England had made it to the last eight and had proven again that their credentials to roll onto the final and hopefully win the cup. For Senegal however, this first adventure at the World Cup had come to an end and for their first crack at glory, they certainly had given it a good go.
England players celebrate after their victory
The same day would see a rather lacklustre Germany taking on the United States in which certainly proved to everyone they were no push over it would be the Americans that stunned the Germans in the 8th minute and pretty much looked the better team, only for Ballack to come up at the other end and score near the end of half time. However the United States never gave up and in the 65th minute, they came up with a strike from Donovan which would ultimately send Germany out of the World Cup and the United States through .
Many German supporters would later admit that this German team was no near near good enough to the levels of past German teams and that the United States deserved their victory. Question was by many was how far could this team go in this World Cup? Time would tell..
USA vs Germany in the Round of 16
The following day kicked off with Spain taking on Tunisia and despite boasting many talented players and a rich football history to go along with it, Spain had often been quite a disappointment of a team and this was surely a chance to make a change as standing in their way was Tunisia. In what was seen to be quite a one-sided game for the Spaniards, two goals from Spain would pretty much kill off the African team's hopes and would see them in the last eight at long last.
It was such a routine game that not many had anything to say about it other than some hoping that this Spanish team might be able to light up this World Cup and maybe join the elite after this...
Puyol of Spain during the match with Tunisia
Later on that evening would see Argentina take on Scotland in a game in which everyone expected the Argentines to crush the Scots with ease and given past results between the two nations it wasn't quite hard to see why. Despite Argentina laying siege on Scotland constantly throughout the match, the Scots would hold back much Argentine pressure and yet despite not having one single shot on target, Scotland held for extra time.
However the game was only going to end one way and in the end, Crespo came up in extra time to score the golden goal to send Argentina through and Scotland out . There were many who felt this Argentine team had it in them to go all the way and the next few games would ask those questions...
Crespo with the winning goal to send Argentina through
The day after that would start of with the favourites, Italy, taking on a plucky Irish team in which hardly anyone felt had a chance to go through and right from the start in the second minute of the game, Italy took the lead via a corner kick and it only got worse with another goal in the 20th minute which looked like it was going to be a long game with Ireland. The Irish though did attempt a comeback but sadly a goal from Del Piero finished the Irish off and only a injury time penalty for the Irish was the only consolation they could get in a game they were very much second best in .
Italy had proven to many why many felt that this Italy team well up for the task of reaching the final for the third time in a row, only hope now was that would have a favourable path that would send them there...
Job well done for the Italians
Later that evening would see Brazil facing off Mexico in Kobe and to say the task to take down this Brazil team was difficult was a true understatement. That being said Mexico managed to keep a clean sheet in that first half though Brazilian determination would shine through in the second half when two goals from Brazil were more than enough to put an end to Mexico's World Cup hopes and saw them dumped out from the World Cup.
While it was cliché to say that Brazil were favourites to win yet again but man felt with how long it had been for Brazil since they got their hands on the trophy that the long wait would be over...or would it carry on?
Brazilian players celebrate their victory over Mexico
The final games of the last 16 would start off with the hosts taking on Turkey in front of a large crowd of their own supporters. However it would not go all well for Japan as Turkey struck first in the 12th minute and never looked like they were going to be troubled by the host nation despite this being played in Japan's own backyard. It would be an uneventful game that saw Japanese hopes end, much to the dismay of their fans .
No one knew just how well this Turkish team could go in this World Cup but they were now a team that had many keeping an eye out for having the looks of a dark horse at this World Cup.
The final match of the Last 16 would see Australia facing Russia and it was a game that Australia felt that they could finally end a long a frustrating barrier of them finishing in the last 16 and maybe get into the last eight for the first time since 1978 . Thankfully for Australia, Russia were no real shakes despite holding up well in that first half to stop the Socceroos from scoring.
However Australia would fight back with two goals that saw them dump the Russians out and finally after so many years, Australians everywhere could celebrate on reaching the last eight of the World Cup after so long. With that game the Last 16 had been completed and now it was time for the Quarter-Finals. Who would make the cut now?
The Australian team lining up for the game with Russia
Final results of the Last 16 of the 2002 World Cup ---------
 The game is pretty much the same as OTL Denmark game.
 Unlike in OTL in which Germany went through thanks to a penalty not given for the United States.
 Argentina get better luck here compared to OTL when they failed to get out of the group.
 Ireland go out in the last 16 like OTL though things look rosy for Spain...
 The result is pretty much the same as OTL.
 Look back on TTL.
So finally here we are! Sorry for the wait, been doing work lately and I haven't got round to update, but here we are fellow readers! So here is our last eight as it stands:
England vs Italy
Spain vs Turkey
United States vs Brazil
Argentina vs Australia
So who will win and that? Anyway hope you are all keeping safe and until then, catch you guys later!
In the last eight of the 2002 World Cup, the first game would be between Brazil and the United States and to say that this was to be a impossible task for the Americans to try and take down a high flying Brazilian side would be something of an understatement. Despite the odds being firmly stacked against the United States, it seemed from the start that they had forgotten to read the script when they stunned everyone by getting an early goal and as the half progressed with Brazil struggling to find an equaliser, it seemed that the Americans were going to go in at half time with a stunning lead.
However right in injury time, Brazil struck back to make the score level once more and just five minutes after the restart, Brazil struck again to turn the game on it's head and have Brazil out in front. From then on, the United States were chasing shadows and couldn't find a way back into the game which would end with Brazil winning what turn out in the end to be a rather one sided affair .
USA vs Brazil at the 2002 World Cup
While many expected Brazil to win the game, the United States had done not that bad many hoped that if they kept this up, things might be looking up for them in the 2006 World Cup. For now though, Brazil were now just a game away from the final...
Later that day would see an all European affair with England and Italy going at it for a place in the last four. Italy were hoping to carry on with a third time in a row of reaching the Semis but this England team were looking to be more than a match to try and stop Italy. It would be however in the early part of the first half that Italy looked the more stronger and likely to score first but England would put on a defensive masterclass to keep the Italians out.
Then near the end of the first half, England struck back with a counter attack from out of nowhere and it would be one Michael Owen  who would stun the Italians to give England a shock lead and thus saw England going off at half time feeling very good about their chances. Despite Italy trying all they could to bring down the English, it would not be enough as that one goal was more than enough for the English to march on into the last four and crush Italian hearts.
England players celebrate after Owen's goal gives them the lead
There had been many who felt that this Italian team had it in them to win the World Cup this year and the result was something of a disappointment for many...many other than the England team who were back in a last four for the first time since 1990 . Could they go all the way...?
The following day saw the other two matches to be played starting off with Spain taking on Turkey in what was quite a historic game for both teams as it was the first time either of them had played in the last eight of a World Cup  so either way both sides had done better than what they had ever done before. On paper however the game looked to be one for Spain to win due to the sort of team they had but one could never be too careful.
However the game would end up being a rather straight forward affair for Spain as two goals from Hierro and Xavi would easily take apart Turkey in a 2-0 victory in a game that Turkey were clearly second best in. For Turkey though, they could take heart that they had gotten further than any Turkish team before and who knows how they would do if they could qualify for the finals in 2006.
For Spain after so many frustrating times of falling at the last 16 for many years, it had been a more sweeter for them that not only had they gotten this far, they were now about to reach the last for the first time since the 1950 World Cup . Could Spain go one step better?
The final Quarter-final game was to be played between Argentina and Australia and while Australians could feel happy to have finally made it to this stage after so many close calls, the task laying in wait for them to see if they could reach the last four was to be played against Argentina. A team that many suspected would crush the Socceroo's under their boots.
It would end up being one of the more correct results of the World Cup as in of of the most one sided games of the World Cup, Argentina utterly battered Australia 4-0 that helped them cruise their way to the last four. Despite the score line which might think that Australia were out of their depth, the Australians hadn't really played all that bad and it was just a brief lack of concentration which ended up costing the game for them.
One happy Crespo after the final goal which gives Argentina the victory
While Argentina awaited to see who they would face in the last four, Australia felt that if they kept this team in more or less one piece for the next World Cup, then it was likely that Australia might have have a good chance in 2006. For now though, this was for Argentina to celebrate about and that would be the last of the Quarter-Final games had been played, everyone was looking exciting at what looked to be a tasty last four.
Final Results of the Quarter-Finals of the 2002 World Cup ---------
 The game is rather like OTL Brazil vs England game, plus the USA go out in the last eight like OTL too.
 Owen scores first like in OTL Brazil vs England game.
 Indeed both for ITTL and OTL at this point.
 Spain up until this point have been rather poor at this point.
 Like in OTL at least.
Finally here is the update. I must say I have been having a lack of motivation to get on with this TL, just hope you guys are enjoying this which is what I hope to do. Anyway, here is our last four as follows.
England vs Spain
Brazil vs Argentina
So, who will be the ones to go for it? Until then, stay safe and see you soon!
With the final four having three of the teams having won a World Cup, with the exception of Spain who had never gotten this far before, it was a last four that many expected would be the final outcome though Spain were now look upon as now the dark horse of this tournament. It would be in the first Semi-Final that Spain would take on England for a place in the final with the English looking to be the favourites to go through to make it to the final for a third time.
The game itself would start off strongly for England with Spain being stuck on the backfoot for most of the time yet despite all this England struggled to find the breakthrough though the best chance fell in the 37th minute when Owen had too much of a heavy foot that sent the ball ballooning over the bar. Despite all this hard work, the score would remain 0-0 at the break with everything still to play for.
Xavi during the Semi-Final
It was during the second half that Spain finally seemed to click and began to look more better and England weren't so in command as they were before. However Spain's resurgence would come to a grinding halt in which they stupidly gave away a penalty, in the 66th minute all times, in which Beckham put away for England and it looked like they were going into the final. However Spain didn't back down and it would be less than ten minutes later in which the Spaniards got one back and suddenly it was all to play for and thus, the game went into extra time.
England felt frustrated of not making the most of it in the first half and this failure would come back to haunt England as in the 96th minute into extra time, Xavi fired in a rocket of a volley that went into the back of the net which would be the vital golden goal needed for Spain to take them to their first ever final and an absolute heartbreaker for England to lose in.
England players at the end of the game
To say England were disappointed would be an understatement though for Spain, their incredible run had taken them to the final and were so close to getting their hands on that trophy. Question was, who would face them in the final?
Not for the first time had Argentina and Brazil faced each other in the last four of a World Cup though it was fair to say with both teams looking really strong, it was hard to say who would be the victor here. It would be a tense game to say the least as it would be one of those games in which both sides were more interesting in trying not to lose rather than to win and with no goals coming in the first half, fair to say it was turning out to be something of an anti-climax.
Those who hoped for better in the second half were to be let down once again as that cagey style of play would carry on though it would see quite a number of crunching tackles the longer the game went on though there was controversy in the second half in which an Argentine player had the ball in the back of the net in the 58th minute yet to the shock of many, it was ruled to be offside and no one knew what was going on. What that be a turning point in the game?
Argentina vs Brazil in the Semi-Final
That moment there was enough to wake Brazil up and this time attempt to try and risk it by putting more players forward and try to win the game and slowly and surely it was looking like it but as the second half neared it's end, it look as it was going to go into extra time. Then with a few minutes to go towards the end, Ronaldo placed in a low cross to finally break the deadlock and now it look as though Brazil were on their way to the final.
However it was in injury time that the game would be remember for the infamous scenes in which Crespo looked as though he had managed to give Argentina a dramatic equaliser via a corner kick but to the outrage of all Argentines, the goal was ruled off for some bizarre reason and the game ended up in a near brawl with the two players and it was a sorry state of affairs to end on what was quite a tense game throughout.
Brazil players celebrate after scoring the goal that takes Brazil to the final to face Spain
At last, Brazilains everywhere could celebrate the fact that they were back in a final and surely it was their own to lose now though many in Argentina would loudly argue that they were cheated from reaching the final in which many said that the referee was biased in favour of Brazil and when that final would come around, there would be at least one somewhere in Argentina cheering Spain in the final.
With that though, the Semi-Finals had been completed and while many were expecting Brazil to end 32 years of hurt, no one could ever be so sure in football...
Final results of the 2002 World Cup Semi-Finals
And finally here it is! I bet the results might've caught you out but that's always the fun side into expecting the unexpected! I haven't really got much to add to this other than now England and Argentina will face each other in the Third Place game while Spain will face Brazil in the final and given the sad state of affairs what happened to Brazil IOTL's 2002 World Cup, you can say it's a happier time for them.