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Red Crowd from Gwanghwamun Will Rock Germany

Posted December. 15, 2005 08:59,   


“We will cheer them with all our might. We’ll out-cheer their 1,000 with our 100. We can take on anyone.”

Hanover: the capital of Niedersachsen, Germany. The reporter met with three young Koreans saddled with knapsacks covered with red stickers and ornaments. They are the “Red Devils,” supporters of the Korean national football team. They were scouting the battleground immediately following the grouping announcement of the 2006 Germany World Cup, all in hopes of finding a better spot to root for their team before anyone else does. The most immediate concern is lodging. Though the games are still six months away, as soon as the grouping was announced, the hotel reservations in the host city started filling up.

Hanover Suite Hotel normally charges 79 euros per night, but during the World Cup, its rate goes up to 139 euros per night. Less than 10 out of their 123 total rooms are available. Nearing the World Cup, there will be no vacancy even if you are willing to pay an arm and a leg for it.

In order to accommodate the 300 to 500 supporters, the Red Devils scouted through campsites near the host city. The rate was 30 to 35 euros a night, including a tent and extra costs.

Oh Jung-gwon (33), a budget committeeman of the Red Devils, said, “We have already found wonderful campsites in Leipzig and Frankfurt. We’re not just going to sleep there. We’re also preparing various cultural activities that we all can enjoy.”

The supporters’ motto for this World Cup is “Team Geist,” which means team spirit.

Ban Wu-yong (33), who heads this scouting party, said, “We’re seriously outnumbered by supporters coming in from the neighboring countries. We must focus all our strength. The Red Devils is open to everybody. Immigrants, students, and all others must become one and root for our team.”

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com