AL RAYYAN, Qatar: All all through his workforce’s 2-1 upset of Portugal on Friday (Dec 2), South Korean fan Kim Jin-soo stored an in depth eye on his cell phone.
As a result of not solely did South Korea want a win to face any likelihood of progressing to the World Cup knockout stage, additionally they wanted the outcome from the Uruguay and Ghana match to go of their favour.
After Kim Younger-gwon had cancelled out an early opener from Portugal’s Ricardo Horta, South Korea pressed for a winner.
“I hoped that we’d rating a second and win the sport,” Mr Kim informed CNA.
And his workforce did simply that, as substitute Hwang Hee-chan slid residence in stoppage time.
“Portugal already went by way of. Possibly they’d not be fighting. (South) Korea was preventing for his or her life, and a whole lot of Korean followers, we stored supporting them, giving them power,” mentioned South Korean fan Grace Kim.
This yr’s World Cup had began so promisingly for the Twenty eighth-ranked South Koreans. They gained a creditable level of their opening recreation towards Uruguay, who’re ranked 14th on this planet and had been semi-finalists in 2010 and quarter-finalists in 2018.
However Paulo Bento’s males crumbled towards Ghana, dropping the game and their composure as their opponents ran out 3-2 winners.
“They’ve the potential. I may see so many different times they wished it so badly, with the Ghana recreation the place we simply wanted 5 extra minutes,” mentioned Ms Kim.
After Hwang’s winner got here an agonising look forward to the opposite Group H match to finish, as South Korean followers and gamers nervously counted down the clock.
“Time was shifting actually slowly!” recalled Mr Kim.
A objective from Uruguay would have eradicated Bento’s workforce, regardless of them beating Portugal. However the objective by no means got here.
“It was simply sheer satisfaction and pleasure,” added Ms Kim.
South Korea had been degree on factors and objective distinction with the South American aspect, however progressed having scored extra targets within the group stage. They completed second within the group whereas Portugal had been high.
South Korea will face Brazil within the spherical of 16 on Monday, and a few of their followers consider they’ll upset the percentages towards a workforce which has been tipped to win the event.
“Why not? It’s one recreation. Keep as a workforce, keep collectively, if you happen to consider … something can occur,” mentioned Ms Kim.
“Simply have a optimistic perspective it doesn’t matter what, then it does not matter, win or lose. They may really feel proud it doesn’t matter what.”
For now, followers like Mr Kim simply wish to bask within the pleasure of the second.
The final time South Korea progressed out of the group stage was on the 2010 World Cup, the place they had been eradicated by Uruguay within the spherical of 16.
This time, they face a extra fearsome foe.
“I do not wish to take into consideration that recreation,” mentioned Mr Kim. “Proper now, I simply wish to get pleasure from … with the Korean folks and followers.”