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“Finally Semifinal”: 5 Million in Raptures

Posted June. 23, 2002 12:24,   


This day of August 22, the whole country looked like a red volcano by more than 5 million people in red, who poured out onto the street to cheer up the Korean Soccer Team in its match against Spain.

People, who were watching the match on street, at home, at work, on TV and big screen, shouted cheering for their team whenever the Korean Team was pushed against the wall.

Sky over the main “cheering areas” like Jong-ro and the Sejongro Intersection was colored in red by fire works and balloons.

Only in Seoul, approximately 1.7 million people gathered to perk up their team. For the whole country, more than 5 million Koreans packed the streets.

This time, the Sejongro Intersection, which has been the center of “street cheering,” drew more supporters than any other time, reaching over 600,000 in number.

The supporters rooted enthusiastically for their team, clapping rubber cheering sticks. They were wearing red shirts and hoods, following the “Red Devil” supporters.

The red supporters, who assembled almost 8 hours before the kick-off, hurrahed and cheered together “Dae~ Han Min Guk”(i.e. the Korean name of “Republic of Korea”) as the kick-off was announced on the Dong-A Daily’s screen and fireworks cracked.

This day, Dong-A Daily, Dong-A.com and LG sponsored a “fireworks festival” by shooting about rounds of 2000 fireworks into the sky at the begging and end of each half.

In addition, on the left and right side of the screen were hanging two ad-balloons reading a cheering sign “Dae Han Min Guk, the Strongest in the World.”

Young M. Song (23, college student), who arrived on 21st from Daejun, said, “60 more years will not get me this feeling of joy,” and continued, “I don’t know why my heart’s got filled with pride whenever signing our national anthem.”

The Kwangwha Moon area was waving with our national flowers, which were freely distributed by a company selling artificial flowers.

The City Hall Plaza was also crowded with some 600,000 people. On the stage, Double D, a duet from Netherlands was giving more excitement by singing the “Hiddink Song.”

Another 500,000 supporters got together at other places like Co-Ex Mall in Kangnam, Jamshil Stadium, Peace Park near the World Cup Stadium in Sangam-Dong and the Outdoor Stage in Yeoui-do.

Also in Busan, crowds in red clothes made red waves by packing the streets and the public places such as Asiad Main Stadium and Busan Station Plaza.

Lee Mi-Young, a college student wrapping her face in Korean national flag, explained that her fashion was called Cha Doo-ri Fashion, since it started with his wearing the flag. She went on to say, “I was fascinated by his wonderful overhead kick. I will cheer for him today”

Around the Bumuh-Dong Intersection in Daegu City, huge placards and national flags, saying “Victory Korea. Advance to Semifinal,” were hanging and, thus, making people more delighted. Unlike other places, it was easily seen that the supporting crowds wore not the “red uniforms,” but white shirts with a red slogan reading “Be the Reds.”

A college student, Han Shin, said, “I matched my shirt’s color with the color of our players’ uniform. I hope they will win like they did against Italy when they were the white uniform.”

Today, lots of family members came out together since workers are off on Saturdays.

Yoo Sung-Ki (37), a government worker who came to the Deajeon Han-Bat Stadium with his wife and 2 year old child, said, “It’s held on Saturday. That’s why I could come here. We will remember today for a long time.”

Moonhak Stadium and Baseball Park attracted most people in Incheon. (82,000 in number) They wore national flags over their red shirts or held them in hand throughout their spirited cheering.

To avoid the possible heat strokes from hot temperature, supporters used caps and umbrellas in addition to the red hoods and towels.

The family of the player Kim Nam-Il, whose position is defensive mid-fielder, supported the Korean Team along with 80 neighbors, watching TV in the nearby local government building. From 1 p.m., student and teachers of Pupyong High School, which is the alma mater of the three players (Lee Chun-Soo, Kim Nam-Il and Choi Tea-Wook), cheered in the auditorium, watching the match on a big screen.

In Jeju Island, over 60,000 Koreans crowded any places with big screen such as World Cup Stadium.