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No 'Group of Death' in Russia

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By Park Moo-jong

In June 2002, the main streets of cities were painted red, not by the Communists' red, but by the red shirts of the Red Devils, the very supporters of the Korean national football team which was writing down World Cup history to the astonishment of the world.

Hundreds of thousands of people chanted "Daehan Minguk" (Republic of Korea) at stadiums, city plazas, bars, restaurants and elsewhere, watching their team's games against Poland, the United States, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and Turkey through the night during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan staged May 31 to June 30.
The Koreans were still underdogs at that time in the global sporting extravaganza, the first held on a continent other than Europe or the Americas. But that stopped in the preliminaries when they stopped the Polish, Americans and Portuguese, sent home the fancied Italians in the round of 16 and then stunned Spaniards to join the final four.
Their "legendary" journey ended when they lost to Germans 0-1, sending them to a consolation match with Turkey where they finished fourth. Brazil took home the World Cup by beating Germany 2-0.

The Koreans' victory on their home soil was the result of their fabulous teamwork, fighting spirit and tactics by Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, engineered, of course, by the dynamic support of the........

© The Korea Times