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World Cup Soccer

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It's the most watched sporting event in the world and it's less than a year away. The World Cup of soccer will take place in Asia for the first time - here's what you need to know.

Where and When?

The 2002 World Cup is being hosted by South Korea and Japan. It will be the first time the tournament is played in two different countries. The opening game will be May 31, 2002 in Seoul, South Korea. The final goes June 30, 2002 in Yokohama, Japan.

Who's Gonna Be There?
There will be 32 teams from six different zones that will qualify for the month long tournament. Japan and Korea automatically qualify because they are the hosts and France qualifies because they won the World Cup in 1998. The rest of the teams that will compete in 2002 are determined by smaller tournaments in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, North America and Oceania. The United States is playing in a division against Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. Canada has already been knocked out.

The Favorites?
The teams to watch out for will be the usual World Cup contenders - France, Brazil, Argentina and Italy. France is the number one ranked team in the World and the defending champions. Brazil has not played well so far in qualifying but once the tournament starts - expect the Brazilians to be a tough opponent. Other teams who may pull off some upsets are African powerhouse, Cameroon and the host country, Japan.

The Mascots
The 2002 World Cup will have a futuristic feel with computer-animated mascots called Ato, Nik and Kaz. They look like the offspring of Pokemon and the Teletubbies. FIFA is a little worried the mascots may scare young children. What do you think?

World Youth Championship
The future stars of the World Cup are now playing at the World Youth Championship in Argentina. The final game will be played July, 8 in Buenos Aires.

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