S. Koreans revel in revenge after 2002 defeat

A meme of South Korean goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, who made some astounding saves against Germany. The South Korean media yesterday hailed the Korean team's astonishing 2-0 win as the "Miracle of Kazan".
A meme of South Korean goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, who made some astounding saves against Germany. The South Korean media yesterday hailed the Korean team's astonishing 2-0 win as the "Miracle of Kazan".PHOTO: TWITTER EIMONOXX

SEOUL/MEXICO CITY • South Korea waited 16 years to get World Cup revenge on Germany, and while Wednesday's astonishing 2-0 win over the defending champions came in the group stage rather than the semi-finals, it tasted no less sweet.

The Germans had denied Guus Hiddink's South Korea a place in the 2002 final with a 1-0 win in Seoul after the co-hosts had ridden a wave of national footballing fervour to defeat Poland, Portugal, Italy and Spain on the way to the last four.

South Korean media yesterday hailed Wednesday's win as the "Miracle of Kazan". The Kookmin Ilbo said the Koreans had gone "From Prey to Predator".

The daily said: "Throughout the 88-year history of the World Cup, Germany had always been a hero. But this German team knelt down before Korea at the 2018 World Cup in Russia."

The Herald Business' sports page said: "The German Goliath went from composure to tears in 99 minutes."

Meanwhile, Yonhap News said that "after defeats at the 1994 and 2002 World Cups, South Korea finally stopped the German tank".

The Korea Football Association said the "fighting spirit of the national team that never gives up had moved the whole nation".

UNPREDICTABILITY OF FOOTBALL

This is football. The sport that can have so much unexpected change is football.

FORMER SOUTH KOREAN FORWARD AHN JUNG-HWAN, who scored the goal that knocked Italy out of the last 16 in 2002.

Former South Korean forward Ahn Jung-hwan, who scored the goal that knocked Italy out of the last 16 in 2002, said the result showed the unpredictability of the game.

"This is football," said Mr Ahn, who is working for Korean television at the World Cup. "The sport that can have so much unexpected change is football."

In Mexico City, ecstatic Mexican fans besieged the South Korean Embassy to celebrate with diplomats as South Korea's win had ensured Mexico's progress to the last 16.

Mexicans watched in horror as their side were thumped 3-0 in Yekaterinburg, leaving them keeping a nervous eye on the match between Germany and South Korea about 800km to the west in Kazan.

But Mexico City exploded with joy when South Korea scored two injury-time goals to eliminate the defending world champions.

Hundreds of Mexican fans mobbed the South Korean Embassy to chant "We are all Koreans!" as one lifted Consul-General Han Byoung-jin onto his shoulders.

Videos posted on social media also showed Ambassador Kim Sang-il sharing a bottle of tequila with fans and jumping up and down as the crowd partied outside the embassy, chanting "Korean brother, now you're Mexican". The embassy was bombarded by phone calls thanking South Koreans, Yonhap said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'S. Koreans revel in revenge after 2002 defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe