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Korea Advances into Quarterfinals

Posted June. 19, 2002 10:54,   


“It’s Incredible.” “It’s a miracle.” The whole nation shouted with joy when their national football team beat the three-time champions Italy. Korea made a historic victory with Ahn Jung-hwan’s golden goal in the 27th minutes of extra time.

Korea beats Italy 2-1 to advance into the quarterfinals, and the whole nation was sent into ruptures. The dramatic victory was shared by the 12th player, 47 million people of Korea across the nation who showed unwavering support for their team.

“We made it,” they were choked with tears and full of emotions, chanting “Daehanminguk (Republic of Korea)” at Sejongro intersection in central Seoul and across the red-clad country.

Daejeon World Cup Stadium on June 18, a second-round match between Korea and Italy. Korea pulled out a 2 to 1 dramatic overtime win against the Azzurri with Ahn’s golden goal to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time. They trailed the match after an early Christian Vieri header, but Seol Ki Hyeon scored late to go into extra time, and then Ahn scored the dramatic golden goal.

This marks the first time that an Asian country reaches the quarterfinals in the 32-countries World Cup tournament. Although North Korea joined the top 8 in the 1966 England World Cup, they were recorded first-round winners since only 16 teams competed in the finals at that time.

It was a sweet and bitter day to the two hosting countries. Japan failed to advance into the next round, taking a final blow from Turkey in a 0-1 defeat, leaving the glory of the day to its co-hosts Koreans.

Korea will face Spain in Gwangju on June 22 over a ticket to the semifinals. Spain is a strong opponent standing 8th in the FIFA ranking, but Korea’s magical run is likely to continue after its victories over Portugal (5th) and Italy (6th).