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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
South Korea goes crazy
Korean fans show their colours
The match was a 55,982 sell-out

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The one complaint about the World Cup in Korea so far has been the depressing number of empty seats dotted around the country's 10 brand new stadia.

Build it, and they will come, was the Field Of Dreams-like theory.

Even at the opening ceremony, theory had not quite translated into Korean reality.

But there was not a single seat to be had when the co-hosts took their bow in Busan on Tuesday night.

The atmosphere was unbelievable.

Korea has been planning this night for years - and when the moment finally arrived a nation did not disappoint the watching world.

Two hours before the opening Group D game against Poland kicked off, the stadium was rocking.

The golf-ball dome makes for swimming-pool like acoustics when it is half empty, as it was for South Africa's game with Paraguay.

But fill it to the brim with passionate home fans and the electricity kicks in.

A Korean fans gets in the spirit of the match
The noise was intense
Carefully choreographed song-and-dance routines made for a deafening noise level - like twin jet engines lifting the co-hosts into orbit.

The atmosphere at kick-off was FA Cup final, Beatles at Shea Stadium and Last Night of the Proms all rolled into one - with the volume turned up.

And when Hwang Sun-Hong swept home Lee Eul-Yong's 26th-minute cross, the place went ballistic.

The Koreans were getting excited when their side won a goal kick.

But when they scored it was enough to rock the garish stadium to its very foundations.

They were still wobbling 11 minutes later, when Yoo Sang-Chul blazed home, despite a linesman's raised flag, and the decibel levels rose again.

This time, the high-pitched cry of disbelief seemed to translate roughly into "we don't understand the offside law".

Open Quote
The fans were wonderful
Close Quote
Coach Guus Hiddink
But Korea's football fans are learning fast - and in national coach Guus Hiddink they have a master tutor.

As do their players. A second goal, from Yoo Sang-Chul, sealed the win and sent the crowd into over-drive.

The impressive and energetic Korean side fully deserved their victory - only Asia's third World Cup triumph over a European rival in World Cup history.

More importantly, it was South Korea's first World Cup win over any opposition.

And that certainly gave the home fans something to shout about.


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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP D
  P GD PTS
SOUTH KOREA 3 +3 7
USA 3 -1 4
PORTUGAL 3 +2 3
POLAND 3 -4 3




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