Korea Republic fans saw their dreams of FIFA World Cup™ glory come to an end by an 80th-minute goal from Uruguay's Luis Suarez early Sunday, but fans still praised the Taeguk Warriors for a spirited performance.
Despite drizzling rain which mirrored conditions in South Africa's Port Elizabeth, police said 447,000 passionate supporters packed outdoor venues throughout Korea Republic to watch the game on giant TV screens including 295,000 in Seoul.
Millions more tuned in at home to see if the team - which had reached the knock-out round for the first time on foreign soil - could go even further. Red-shirted fans who packed Seoul's City Hall plaza clapped, sang, beat drums and shouted for their team, even when persistent rain washed off face paintings.
Lee Chung-Yong's header in the 67th minute to level the score was greeted with ecstatic shouts and leaps in the air. And despite the final 2-1 scoreline, the crowd applauded the Koreans for what was seen as a creditable display, although a few were seen sobbing. "They [Korea Republic] were good and Uruguay's second goal was something we couldn't block," one said, reflecting a widespread sentiment.
Fans generally had praise for the team and there was even some praise left over for the Uruguayans. "Our players did so well today but there was no luck," said Jun Jin-Woo, 17. "I think it was a good experience in a bigger league. I'm sure they'll do better after experiencing the game today."