DAEJEON, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 18:  WM 2002 in JAPAN und KOREA, Daejeon; Match 56/ACHTELFINALE/KOREA - ITALIEN (KOR - ITA) 2:1 n.V.; JUBEL nach TOR zum 2:1 jung Hwan AHN/KOR  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Bongarts/Getty Images)
South Korea's Ahn Jung-hwan scores the golden goal against Italy in the 2002 World Cup. Getty 

My favourite World Cup moment: South Korea's controversial upset over Italy in 2002

Was it a miracle or just another football scandal? Sixteen years later, we may still never know – although I'm sure people have their own theories.

The 2002 World Cup was probably the first one I had seriously paid attention to despite growing up in a very football-crazed (or, as we call it, soccer) town in western Massachusetts. Even though I was supposed to root for Team USA, to be honest, my 14-year-old self wasn't really that invested.

However, while I was curious about the powerhouse European teams (Spain, Italy, Germany), I also found myself particularly intrigued by South Korea. After all, they were one of the hosts, but I'm sure they weren't expected to do as well as they did.

While looking back now, I realise how controversial their match against Italy really was, and the upset of knocking out one of the heavy favourites in the round of 16 has always stayed with me.

Sure, there were some questionable calls from the referee (including a second yellow card in the 103rd minute against Italy’s Francesco Totti for diving). But in the end, South Korea stepped up when it mattered the most when striker Ahn Jung-hwan scored a golden goal in the 117th minute to seal the upset in extra time.

Even more impressively, they finished fourth in the tournament despite probably having the hardest route through the rounds. They went on to beat Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals, but lost to Germany in the semis.

Even though there are people who, still to this day, complain about the 2002 World Cup being full of scandal, I'll choose to remember it for simply the feel-good moment of watching an underdog football team do what so many people believed they couldn't – even if it's marred with controversy.

Evelyn Lau is Assistant Features Editor at The National

Read more:

My favourite World Cup moment: Owen Hargreaves' lung-busting show in 2006

My favourite World Cup moment: Michael’s Owen’s breakout brilliance against Argentina

Lowdown: Where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Abu Dhabi and kick-off times

Lowdown: Where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Dubai and kick-off times



Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.

Subscribe to Beyond the Headlines
In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy