Jubilant crowds gathered throughout South Korea to celebrate the national team's victory over Greece in their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ opener.
About one million red-shirted fans nationwide, including 200,000 in Seoul, packed boulevards, stadiums and parks on Saturday, cheering the side's 2-0 win over UEFA Euro 2004 champions Greece, police said. Major South Korean TV channels on Sunday repeatedly showed highlights of the game, along with post-match analysis.
Fans chatted online on major websites and in chatrooms in this most wired of countries. The game, which was broadcast live in South Korea, drew crowds of people to wherever TV screens were - city streets, plazas, parks, cinemas, bars, riverside camping sites and living rooms.
Wearing plastic rain coats against continuous drizzle, 50,000 people gathered at Seoul's city hall plaza in front of giant TV screens. Celebratory fireworks shot up into the sky from Seoul's Han River park where families camped out, cheering for the squad and rejoicing the win.
"It was so beautiful," a Korean fan, identified online as Sharon, said in a message to Yahoo's Korean language portal after captain Park Ji-Sung's goal, the second of the night, secured victory. "One more goal in the match against Argentina. Let's beat them," said Park Sukwan, another online user, in a message, referring to the upcoming fixture.
Yonhap news agency, citing a national TV ratings agency, said almost six in 10 South Korean television sets were tuned to the match.