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One Nation United Behind Team Korea

Posted June. 19, 2006 03:02,   


Who won the game didn’t matter. Being united once again was fun and exciting. People enjoyed the soccer festival to the fullest, shouting the chorus of “Dae-han-min-guk” (Republic of Korea). From Gwanghwamun in Seoul to Mara Island in the far south of Korea, every corner of the country was filled with wild excitement.

On Monday at 4:00 a.m., the big day of the France match, the whole country was filled with rousing choruses of “Dae-han-min-guk!” and “Oh Pilseung Korea!” (meaning roughly “we will win”) . People who went out on the streets with families, lovers, and friends saw the sun rising while they were still cheering on the Korean team.

Although the match took place at 4:00 a.m., people started to gather at Cheonggye Plaza in front of Donga Media Center and Seoul Square in front of the City Hall starting from 4:00 a.m. the day before. In 85 small and big cities across the country, around one million people came together to join the street cheers.

A sleepless night of “Dae-han-min-guk!”-

Around 200,000 people came together at the Cheonggye Plaza and Seoul Square, the Mecca of street cheers near Gwanghwamun. Whenever the Korean players showed excellent performances, people jumped up, shouting like thunderbolts. Do (32), who took a seat right across the large screen on the Donga Media Center, said, “Last time at the Togo match, I was too far at the back because I came too late. So I came here very early on Sunday to get a good spot to watch the match against France.”

The roar of “Dae-han-min-guk!” didn’t stop all night in Busan, Daejeon, Daegu, and even in Dokdo. In Busan, around 60,000 people got together at the Busan World Cup stadium and in 10 colleges within the city. Street cheers also took place at the West Daejeon City Park and Nammun Square in Daejeon, and around 95,000 people in Daegu also wished the Korean team victory, staying up all night.

Families and friends-

Lee Dong-chun (79) and Park Bok-rye (69), parents of goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae, watched the game at home in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, with relatives and friends.

Song Jeong-bae (53), right wing back Song Jong-guk’s uncle, also cheered on his nephew with his family at home in Danyang, North Chungcheong Province.

The soccer team at Kangku middle school in Yeongdeok, defender Kim Jin-kyu’s old school in North Gyeongsang Province, got all together to watch the game, and at Andong High School, the alma mater of MF Baek Ji-hoon, 200 dorm residents gathered at the school cafeteria to cheer on the Korean squad.

In Seorae Township in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, the so-called “French town in Seoul,” lots of French people gathered together to cheer on their national team.

The police and soldiers all together-

In Dokdo, the easternmost islets or the “baby brother of the Korean territory,” policemen in red shirts, except for the indispensable patrol force, stayed up all night cheering on the Korean team with the chorus of “Dae-han-min-guk!” The Special Warfare Command Heuk-pyo held a cheering event, watching the game trough a large screen set up on the drill ground. The soldiers shouted the Special Warfare Command’s slogan “Make impossibilities possible” while cheering the match.

Strengthened police-

Since the match was held at 4:00 a.m., police were concerned about a higher possibility of safety accidents. The police dispatched more policemen to street cheer rallies for the France match than it did for the Togo match. While the police had placed 500 policemen from five companies for the Togo match, it arranged one thousand policemen from 10 companies alone at the Seoul Square for the France match. The police also set up fences to provide the cheering crowd passageways, which it didn’t at the last match with Togo.