ON THIS DAY: Italy loses to South Korea in 2002
On June 18 in World Cup history: Italy eliminated by South Korea in Daejeon, South Korea, in 2002.
In a round-of-16 match that saw Italy’s star striker Francesco Totti controversially sent off, South Korea knocked the Italians out of the World Cup. The 2-1 victory was secured three minutes from the end of extra time when Ahn Jung-hwan headed a golden goal past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The victory prompted mass explosions of joy across the country, which was jointly hosting the tournament with Japan – the first time the World Cup was staged in Asia. The defeat meant Italy had been knocked out of World Cups by both Koreas. In 1966 in England, the Azzurri suffered their most shocking defeat when they lost 1-0 to North Korea. After that ignominious exit, angry fans pelted rotten tomatoes at the team on its return home at Genoa airport.