The Japan-South Korea 2002 FIFA World Cup was marred by a controversial match. Favorites Italy’s dream of making it to the last sixteen was dashed due to the biased behavior of Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno.


FIFA decided to host the World Cup in Asia for the first time in 2002 due to the development and culture of football. Japan and South Korea jointly hosted the event.

However, the name of this event took place next to the heated debate. The big reason was the biased behavior of the referees toward the host South Korea. In the last sixteen, Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno added fuel to the fire of the controversy.

Unrecorded Argentina’s Underdog South Korea Against Favorite Italy The Referee Made A Series Of Questionable Decisions Throughout The Match. Which started only in the fourth minute of the match. The hosts got a penalty thanks to Moreno.

But a great save by Buffon saved Italy. The Azzurri took the lead after ten minutes with Christian Vieri’s goal.

When South Korea then returned to the match, the match was only a couple of minutes old. Referee bias became more visible as the game progressed into extra time.

According to the golden goal rule, the first goal in extra time will decide the fate of the match. Italy also scored according to the rules. However, Tamasi’s goal was canceled by Moreno for offside.

After that, Totti suffered a foul in the opponent’s D-box, but the referee did not blow the whistle for a penalty. He accused the Italian star of reverse diving. South Korea won 2-1 against the team of 10.

With this match, the long career of the legendary footballer Paolo Maldini in the jersey of Italy ended. Italy, however, lifted the golden title at the World Cup four years after Germany. Still, the Italians have a burning wound in the hearts of those unfair decisions of the referee in the match against South Korea in the Korea-Japan World Cup.

Moreno’s life changed completely after that match. He was banned from football in 2003 for match-fixing. He continued to play 13 minutes as overtime in his home league.

It does not end there. In 2010, he was arrested for drug trafficking. Seva was caught red-handed with 6 kg of heroin at New York airport. The referee who officiated the match in the 2002 World Cup was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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