France should have taken Eric Carriere in the squad for 2002. His system forced him to choose between Veron or Aimar and between Crespo or Batistuta. World cup matches can be cruel and small mistakes are punished and that's what happened to them. They were undone by sticky northern European sides who kept it simple, got men behind the ball and capitalised on a set-piece or counter attack. Argentina 0-1 England. They were undone by sticky northern European sides who kept it simple, got men behind the ball and capitalised on a set-piece or counter attack. Thinking back to the 2002 world cup, the national teams just seemed a lot stronger than nowadays. From the outset, it was apparent that the group would not pan out as expected, as Senegal beat France 1–0 in the opening match of the tournament. Remove those two, and aside from a flukey final appearance in 2014 they haven't made it past the quarters since 1930.France wasn't baffling at all, most people that followed the team were laughing at the idea of France being favorite, the team was terrible for more than a year and I remember betting with my uncle that they wouldn't go beyond the group stage.Historically the qualifiers are pretty useless to gauge a teams ability to win the WC.

Did Argentina make a huge mistake not starting Messi in 2006 ?

Even at that age they must of been able to see how talented he was ? Unlike Italy 2010, Spain 2014 and Germany in 2018, the premature falls at the group stage of Argentina and France in the 2002 still remain baffling. Their attack was hamstrung by an ageing lumbering centre-forward who no longer had the legs to find space. France's case is more understandable due to Zidane's injury, but Argentina...I've followed the last 6 World Cups since 1998, and there is an argument that man for man, Argentina went into the the 2002 World Cup with a stronger, more balanced and more complete pool of players to choose from, than at any of the other 5 World Cups including 2006. When Argentina beat England in 1986, they wore new shirts sourced locally. Was still only 18 when the tournament began.In 2002, Argentina looked quite strong defensively even with Ayala getting injured just before the first match, stronger than in 2006 with a 33 year old Ayala, no Samuel, no Zanetti etc, in my opinion, which was why I still think that they a more balanced squad (and general group of players to choose from) in 2002 compared to 2006. Argentina also were not that bad but went out on goal difference or something. Portugal fell flat too. The great Gabriel Batistuta was the difference for the South Americans against the Nigerians, who will meet again at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But by 2002 the whole defence had aged with Thuram 31, Desailly 34, Lizarazu 33, Lebeouf 34 and Barthez 31 as So France suffered in the same way that England teams always do before a World Cup.On a complete side-note, the Senegal-Uruguay game in 2002 was incredible, the best match of a poor World Cup overall.

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Choosing a favourite seemed to be a lot harder. He was a fine playmaker at the time and in his best career form, having pulled the strings at Nantes and then Lyon for their league winning teams, winning player of the year for 01/02.

Senegal looked to be cruising towards the knockout stages when they were 3-0 up at half-time, but Uruguay made a couple of substitutions at the break which paid off (including bringing Forlan on), as they fought back to level it up at 3-3 (the 2nd goal was a golazo by Forlan, after Dario Rodriguez scored probably the goal of the tournament against Denmark in their opening game / defeat). Small margins make a huge difference in WC.Argentina really should've won the 2007 copa america. Missed some simple chances against mexico and Korea.

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