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7Million for “Victory of Korea”

Posted June. 25, 2002 22:48,   


“Destroying the Rommel’s Tanks to Yokohama”

On June 25th, the Korean team faced the Germans for the ticket to the final. Koreans pray from the bottom of their heart that their team would beat their opponent and go to Yokohama to grab the World Cup title.

10 hours before the kick-off, all across the country, some 7 million supporters including more than 3 million in Seoul, a record number so far, have already crowded the streets. Their presence made a huge red wave. They had already started cheering.

It has been tallied that more than 20 million people have participated in street cheering ever since the June 4th Poland match. From early this morning, around the Sangam Stadium, many events were held in celebration of the Korea v. Germany match.

Kim Sun-Kil (24), who came all the way from Busan even before the dawn, said, “I came here, with my friends, to be a part of this historic event. We will beat the Germans [nicknamed Rommel’s Tanks] and go to Yokohama.”

All employees of Gana Construction, Inc. reported not at their company, but at the Stadium. President Jin Yong-Hwan (33) made this decision because “I thought our team’s victory today comes before anything else.”

2000 Red Devil supporters drummed up support in the Stadium, hanging a large placard reading, “Here comes the ‘Burning Engine.’ For Conquering the World!”

Nearly 300,000 citizens surrounded the Sangam Stadium to show their strong support.

Over 900,000 supporters each packed the Sejong Ro Intersection and the City Hall Plaza in Seoul. The two places, which have become Meccas of street cheering, were curling in red waves made by the crowd.

Lee Sung-Hyung, a college student of 24, said in delight, “I came here at 9 a.m. to get the better view. Today Korean soccer will conquer the whole world.”

Some students on the street were preparing for their finals, which had been postponed due to the World Cup. Others brought with them a huge stack of comic books to kill time. Kim Ji-Soo (18), a student at a high school in Seoul, smiled saying, “My final is just around the corner. It starts early nest month. That’s why I brought books here. But I can’t concentrate.”

Around the Meccas, some people attracted attentions by wearing unique shirts. Some shirts bore a pun about Hiddink’s newly given Korean name, Hi-Dong-Gu, reading “Higonggu is our (Hi)mang (i.e. hope for English), (Dong)bang (i.e. of Esat) and (Gu)Sejoo (savior).” On others was found a catch-phrase saying, “Hiddink, Show us your ability in 2006.”

This day, Co-Ex Mall attracted 100,000 people and Chamshil Olympic Baseball Park 37,000. In total, 3,100,000 supporters poured out.

In Kangwon Privice, the home province of Seol Ki-Hyeon and Lee Eul-Yong, 175,000 gathered for supporting. Especially in Kangreung City, for the first time in this World Cup, a huge screen was set up in the down town area.

Kangreung High School, the alma mater of them, put up a similar one on its ground, which was crowded by residents as well as students.

400 residents of Shngchang-ri in Kangwon Provice, a village near the DMZ, swarmed, in support, their town center where a big multivision was installed.

In Busan, 400,000 supporters thronged around the places such as the Asiad Main Stadium, the Busan Station Plaza and Haewoondae Beach. In the meanwhile, in Daegu City, a total of 350,000 participated in the street cheering in 6 places. For example, 150,000 gathered at the Bumuh Intersection.

Big (department) stores in Deajeon City like Lotte closed much earlier, allowing their employees to participate in supporting. Six vocational schools, such as Daejeon Women’s Vocational School, campaigned for orderly, clean cheering.

Kyunggi Province also witnessed a red sea made by the record number of people, or 810,000, who gathered in many places.

The Government Plaza in Gwangju City, where 200,000 supporters appeared at the 22nd match against Spain, was closed to traffic at around 3:30 p.m. There, numerous people made red waves and sang in harmony “Oh, Victory Korea!”

In the meanwhile, the police was put on alert as the number of the injured and incidents increased. 85 accidents were reported in the match against USA, 98 against Italy and 227 in the Korea v. Spain game. Across the country, 36,000 police forces, 10,000 only in Seoul, were mobilized to prevent any accident.

Dong-Yong Min sys1201@donga.com mindy@donga.com