BBC SPORT | WORLD CUP 2002    BBC Sport >>   High Graphics >>
Front Page | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | History |
Team Pages Contents: Argentina | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | China | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Nigeria | Paraguay | Poland | Portugal | Rep of Ireland | Russia | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Slovenia | South Africa | South Korea | Spain | Sweden | Tunisia | Turkey | USA | Uruguay |

Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK

Korean party in full swing

By Stuart Roach
BBC Sport Online's man in Korea

And so the Korean dream lives on.

A dramatic and heart-stopping penalty shoot-out saw Spain's quarter-final jinx continue and threatened to throw a nation into complete chaos.

The country-wide Korean party which has been raging for three weeks was in full swing again by lunchtime on Saturday.

In parks and purpose-built plazas around the country, fans gathered in their masses to sing and dance away the hours until kick-off.

Known as the Red Devils, every Korean fan seemed to be wearing a red T-shirt of some description or draped in a Korean flag. Or both, in many cases.

About five million fans were estimated to have hit the streets on Saturday afternoon, a widespread echo of the 42,114 fans packed inside the Gwangju World Cup stadium.

Spanish supporters were there somewhere - a scarlet drop in the ocean of red.

As kick-off approached, when the teams were announced, the fans were finally able to start releasing their emotions.

The biggest screams came for Ahn Jung Hwan and Hong Myung Bo - the biggest of all for the coach, 'Hiddink Guus' as he is announced.

Korean fans, caught up in the emotion of it all, even cheered the referee.

The contrast between the team's composed approach and the unashamed lunacy of the Korean fans has been marked.

But one has complimented the other, the fans providing the fire on which the team's engine room is powered.

" We have a dream. Please Hiddink make our dream come true "
A Korean banner

For a while, it seemed as though the engine room may finally have run out of steam. No matter how hard the Red Devils huffed and puffed.

Pilseung Korea, which has become the team's national anthem at this tournament, was belted out time and again.

Dae Han Min Kuk, the original and the apparent remix version, also got a regular airing.

The fans behind Lee Woon Jae's goal in the first half conducted the vocal orchestra and the sound, once more, was deafening.

But, on the pitch, Jose Camacho's side had dictated the pace, slowing the pace of the game and drawing the sting from the Red Devils and their tiring team.

Fernando Morientes had a header ruled out after Joaquin was wrongly adjudged to have crossed from beyond the by-line.

Ivan Helguera also had a 'goal' ruled out and Morientes' luck was out again when he saw a flicked shot bounce off the foot of a post.

But Hiddink has taught his side to be patient and the virtue stood them in good stead.

As the game wore on, the two sides fought like punch-drunk boxers, slugging it out in search of a knockout blow.

Korea captain Hong Myung-Bo finally landed it with the decisive penalty after Lee had saved from Joaquin.

The miss was cruel on the 21-year-old Real Betis midfielder, who had been the game's outstanding player.

But Spain's feelings were not on the Korea agenda.

"We have a dream. Please Hiddink make our dream come true," read the giant banner from the far stand.

Remarkably, Hiddink Guus may just do that.


^ Back to top   © BBC