Intertoto Cup 2002
In 2002 Villarreal CF played in their first European Competition- the Intertoto Cup. The honour of being the Submarine's first opponent went to Icelandic side Hafnarfjordur, who visited El Madrigal in the second round of the competition, falling 2-0 in the first leg. A favourable result for the Yellows which served to take them through to the next round after picking up a 2-2 draw in Iceland.
In the third round of the Intertoto Cup, Villarreal faced the classic Italian side Torino. The tie was very evenly matched, with a 2-0 win for Torino in the first leg, and then a 2-0 win for the Yellows in the second leg. The knockout was decided with a penalty shootout, in which the Yellows won 4-3 and qualified for the next round.
Then in the Semi-finals, Villarreal went up against French side Troyes, who they beat convincingly with a 3-0 win across both legs. Everything pointed to Villarreal going all the way and qualifying for the UEFA Cup by winning the Intertoto Cup, but Málaga stood in their way. The Andalusian team won at El Madrigal 0-1 and the second leg finished in a 1-1 draw. The Submarine were left with a sour taste in their mouths, but they would taste glory soon enough.