> Sports > 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP 

   June 30, 2002 | 2010 IST


The All-Stars
The All-Stars
FIFA's best

  Best of the Web

A compilation of the best links on the World Cup.

  Soccer Store

Snap up Jerseys, Books, CD ROMs and Arsenal soccer balls. Click here

Act Now! Treat those Scratches

Kahn pays price for his only error

E-Mail this report to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on  HP Laserjets

Simon Evans

Germany's Oliver Kahn made just one mistake in this World Cup and it came at the most crucial moment of all -- Sunday's final.

With the scores level in the 67th minute, Kahn failed to hold on to a shot from Rivaldo and Ronaldo pounced to slot in the loose ball to put Brazil ahead and on their way to a 2-0 victory.

Kahn watches as Cafu raises the World Cup trophy.He might have pushed the ball wide but Kahn chose to try to catch the shot, allowing the effort to spill out off his chest and gave Ronaldo a straightforward opportunity.

It was the kind of shot Kahn has saved with comfort throughout his career and while there was nothing he could do about Ronaldo's second goal, the 33-year-old will be bitterly disappointed that the safest hands in football failed when they were needed most.

Kahn, an intense perfectionist, who studies psychology and uses 'visualisation' techniques to help him prepare for games, will now have a long close season in which to contemplate the cruelty of his profession where one error is remembered longer than any series of his saves.

Prior to the game Kahn had been voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament by FIFA, in recognition of his outstanding displays throughout.

Few would argue with that verdict.


Up until the final Kahn had conceded just one goal in the Cup and was instrumental to Germany's 1-0 win over United States and the 2-0 victory over Cameroon in the group stage and made a number of key saves in the semi-final against South Korea.

A dejected Kahn after the final. In the first half of Sunday's game he produced another top-drawer save, foiling Ronaldo at close-range with an outstretched leg.

Then seven minutes after the break he showed skill and his characteristic courage to parry a header from Gilberto Silva and then throw himself at the feet of the Brazilian as he attempted to follow in.

That double-save prompted a chorus of "Olli, Olli" from German supporters behind his goal, but how many of them will remember that potentially decisive save now?

Perhaps when the pain of defeat has subsided Kahn will be able to put his error into perspective.

His performances in his first World Cup finals as first choice German keeper has established him as the undisputed number one goalkeeper in the world.

For years in the shadow of Bodo Illgner, then Andreas Koepke, he was a reserve goalkeeper at the last two World Cup finals and was also on the bench when Germany tasted their last international triumph at Euro 1996.

He will likely still be Germany's first choice 'keeper in the European Championships in 2004 and although he will be 37 when the World Cup comes to his homeland in four years there are no signs yet that fitness will be a problem for him.

But for the moment Kahn will need consoling and it was heartening to see Brazil's captain Cafu and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari offer him a hand and a hug at the end of the final.

Germany will need to show similar sympathy for the man who was without doubt the hero of their unlikely transformation from outsiders to runners-up.

Back to top
(c) Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


(c) 2002 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Clinic All Clear