Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Other News  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Football crazy in the park
Korean fans go wild after the win over Poland
Korean fans go wild after the win over Poland

separator
space

South Korea's opening triumph over Poland was truly a match to remember - and not just for the 55,000 hysterical fans crammed into Busan's Asian Stadium.

The country's many giant outdoor screens, installed in parks and gathering points in major cities, have become football magnets for young fans desperate for their World Cup fix.

It was in front of the one in Daegu's Gukchae-bosang Memorial Park that I was able to witness South Korean football fever reach critical mass.

In a different time and place, I might have watched the drama unfold in a pub or at home, but in South Korea the park is where it is at.

Five hours before kick-off, park benches were being moved into optimum viewing positions as China began their mid-afternoon game against Costa Rica.

The match might have ended in disappointment for the World Cup debutants, but in the park, things were definitely hotting up.

The large expanses of green lawn had suddenly been replaced by a sea of Korean heads as Japan kicked off against Belgium at 1800 local time.

As Suzuki and Inamoto got on the score sheet for Korea's historical foes, there were even cheers from the crowd.

Raucous cheer

At 2030, as the headlining bout got underway, there was not a single empty space for a 150m in all directions.

Every player was welcomed with a raucous cheer that could almost be heard in Busan, had the crowd there not been so loud.

It was clear from the start that this team could do no wrong - every charge forward was met with screams, every shot greeted with gasps.

With drums beating and arms raised, the fans chanted, "Oh, oh, Korea! Oh, Pilsung Korea (Korea's sure to win!)," and, "Dae han min guk! (the Republic of Korea)."

The crowd's support was rewarded after 19 minutes when Hwang Sun-hong swept the hosts ahead. Fans let off fireworks that whizzed past my head.

Deafening roar

The student next to me jumped so high, I wondered if he had secreted a mini trampoline into the park.

He leapt even higher when Yoo Sung-chul scored Korea's second in the 53rd minute.

The final whistle was met by a deafening roar and yet more fireworks.

Moments later, the park was practically empty. The fans had taken to the streets to celebrate until the early hours of the morning.


E-mail this story to a friend
RELATED STORIES
INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
OTHER NEWS



© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy