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WORLD CUP 2002 RESULTS
Ulsan, South Korea - Scoring chances came in bundles Saturday evening in Ulsan, Korea as Uruguay and Denmark played in their opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. Jon Dahl Tomasson found the net late in each half to lead the Danes to an emotional victory.
The game began with end-to-end action, and no one was surprised when Tomasson and Uruguays Dario Rodriguez scored on either side of half-time. Tomasson completed his double in the closing minutes, placing Denmark atop Group A along side Senegal. France and Uruguay are now facing long-odds as they share the bottom of the table with no points.
Neither side seemed to be showing any nerves as they both got off to bright starts. Dario Silva and Sebastian Abreu had half chances within the first five minutes for Uruguay, and just after, Dennis Rommedahls left-footer gave Denmark hope on their end.
Again good chances were exchanged when Alvaro Recoba curled a patented left-footed free kick just around the right post (9), while Ebbe Sand had the best chance of the half at the other end. But, the unmarked Schalke man watched his diving header bounce on the pitch and up off the top of the crossbar (12).
After the early flurry, the match settled down, though both teams continued to be attack-minded and skilful when moving forward on the break. Generally, Uruguay preferred to work quickly through the middle, while Denmark exploited space on the wings to send in some dangerous crosses.
The half continued slowly until near the whistle. Recoba looped a lovely ball to Silva whose header was cut out (40), and Rommedahls shot was cleared as well (41). Denmark followed up with more pressure and were rewarded when Jesper Gronkjaer set up Jon Dahl Tomasson, who made no mistake with his shot from 10 yards out (0:1, 45).
The second half started with an immediate response from the celestes, as Dario Rodriguez curled a stunning left-foot volley into the top corner of the Danish net (1:1, 47). From a Recoba corner, the ball was only partially cleared and it eventually fell to the Penarol defender 20 metres out.
The sides remained relatively even, though the quickness of Recoba, Abreu, and Silva caused occasional problems for the Danish defence. Recobas running blast from 30 metres was caught well by a diving Thomas Sorensen (64).
However, Gronkjaer and substitute Martin Jorgensen were doing well on each flank for Denmark. In the 80th minute, Jorgensen beat a couple of players in the Uruguayan box, but the Uruguayan defence, led captain Paolo Montero, scrapped their way through.
That is until Tomassons perfectly placed header hit off the underside of the crossbar and into the Uruguayan net (1:2, 83). Yet another cross from the left by Jorgensen set the unmarked player up, and Uruguayan goalkeeper Fabian Carini was left flat-footed by the superb placement of the ball.
The Danes ran out the final ten minutes of the match knowing that they had launched their World Cup adventure in the best way possible.