The Korea Herald


[World Cup] Korean fans despondent after World Cup defeat

By 정주원

Published : June 23, 2014 - 10:44

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Cheers by tens of thousands South Koreans on the street across the country were muted early Monday following the national football team's defeat against Algeria in their second World Cup match.

The Group H clash between South Korea and Algeria kicked off at 4 a.m. on Wednesday (Seoul Time) at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, southeastern Brazil.

Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul turned into a sea of red as fans packed the plaza, sporting their signature Red Devil shirts and hair bands, and holding boom sticks. About 39,000 fans were gathered there, according to the National Police Agency.

The official cheering squad of the national team, the Red Devils, launched a street cheering performance at the square from midnight, boosting the festive mood.

Yeongdongdaero, or the Yeongdong Boulevard, one of the main streets in the capital city's southern district of Gangnam, was a cheering venue to some 22,000 football fans, where giant screens are set up.

University students, who had just finished their final exams, also came out in droves to cheer on the team. 

In Gwangju, a southwestern city, about 10,000 fans assembled at a football stadium in red T-shirts, enthusiastically shouting "Dae-han-min-guk!" the country's official name in Korean.

The southern port city of Busan was no exception in the nationwide festive mood. Despite the pre-dawn hours, more than 4,500 fans gathered in front of a giant outdoor TV screen set up on the scenic Haeundae Beach to cheer for the national team.

The festive mood, however, soon turned into disappointment after Algerian players Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche and Abdelmoumene Djabou scored a goal apiece in the first half.

As the final whistle blew in a 4-2 defeat, fans who had turned out to cheer on their team held their heads in disappointment.

Many spoke of the disgraceful performance of some of the South Korean players, while others shifted the blame to the team's lack of concentration in the first half.

"There was a chance (for S. Korean team to win) if players had concentrated more in the early hours," a 26-year-old university student in Seoul said.

"It is really sad that players showed lethargic movement in the first half," a 23-year-old fan in Seoul said, wishing that the team would do better game with Belgium. (Yonhap)