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Crowds Stay Up for Nat`l Team`s Final Group Game

Posted June. 23, 2010 12:24,   


Soccer fans stayed up throughout the night Tuesday to see the national team play its final Group B match against Nigeria in the South Africa World Cup.

Crowds hoping to see the Taegeuk Warriors’ first advance to the second round on foreign soil staged enthusiastic cheering at homes, streets and campgrounds ahead of kickoff, which was 3:30 a.m. Wednesday Korean Standard Time.

Police estimated 430,000 people participated in street cheering at early dawn nationwide, including more than 60,000 at Seoul Plaza and 50,000 on Yeongdong Street around the Seoul COEX. Crowds began gathering at Seoul Plaza and Yeongdong Street, the country’s two main venues for street cheering, hours before the game started.

Netizens put up a flurry of postings asking how to get to outdoor venues. Seoul Metropolitan City extended the operating hours of buses and subways for better public access to the cheering venues via public transportation.

Subways continued to run through 2 a.m. Wednesday and buses going to and from street cheering sites operated until 4 a.m.

With the game held at early dawn, fans assembled to root for the national team at a variety of locations including campgrounds, saunas and hotels. Nanji Camp Ground at Hangang Riverside Park in Seoul was packed with people who camped out overnight to cheer on the team.

Fans also flocked to lodging facilities in droves, with hotels being fully booked several days before the game.

Major companies also held promotional events to support the national team. SK Telecom opened a cheering stage on an artificial island at the Banpo section of the riverside park in Seoul’s southern Seocho district, as it did in the team’s first and second group games.

Performances began there at 8 p.m. A midnight concert featuring singers Kim Jang-hoon and Psy started after midnight, adding to the festive atmosphere.