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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Hosts let their hair down
South Korean fans mass in a Seoul square
Parties do not come any bigger than this
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach

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You can forget what happens from here on in.

As far as South Korea is concerned, their team has already won the World Cup.

Park Ji-Sung's brilliantly executed goal sent the co-hosts through as Group D winners and sparked a party the like of which has never been seen in this little peninsula of Asia.

Inside Incheon's Munhak Stadium, 50,000 fans screamed their approval, and the noise reverberated around the country.

Open Quote
We will reach the semi-final. We can beat Italy and go on to the last four of this competition
Close Quote
Park Ji-Sung
Goalscorer

Even on the sleepy honeymoon island of Jeju.

In the shadow of Chonjiyeon Falls, one of the country's most powerful tourist attractions, a party raged along the lines of similar scenes across Korea.

Chonjiyeon is a magnet for tourists, but the falls were deserted as fans packed into the Chilspiri Plaza next to the harbour to watch Korea's make or break match with Portugal.

The match made Korea's day - and broke Portuguese hearts.

Fans bit their Korean nails throughout the 90 minutes, but there was really no need once America shipped two goals inside the opening five minutes.

Koreans of all ages are celebrating
There are no age limits to the party invitations

A draw was always going to be enough for Korea - but the co-hosts wanted to win.

No host has ever failed to negotiate the opening stages of a World Cup and, with Japan already safely through, Korea had no intention of becoming the first.

Park's second-half goal ensured Korea won the group - and sparked a massive party.

At the final whistle, the thousands of fans crammed into Chilspiri Plaza danced the conga towards the last 16 - Guus Hiddink's holy grail.

"We are happy happy. I'm very excited to be watching these scenes," said Yong Suk Ko, one of the fans crammed inside the Yung Wan bar.

"Our team is wonderful. I am very happy," cried another fan, Wang, as Seogwipo unveiled another waterfall - one of emotion.

Amid the throng celebrating on the final whistle was Park, who said the amazing scenes would continue to the semi-finals.

"It's very exciting. Portugal have gone," he said.

"We will reach the semi-final. We can beat Italy and go on to the last four of this competition."

Across the country, millions shared his enthusiasm.

An estimated 600,000 crammed into a plaza in the heart of Seoul, the biggest open-air party in the country.

But it certainly won't be the last.


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