It was an exciting game, and with it being my first experience in personally witnessing a game in the stands, it has certainly set the bar high. There were many aspects that had made it memorable, but it certainly wouldn’t have been as thrilling if it had not been for the exceptional skill and voraciousness of the players that night.
Spain dominated the first half of the game, where Veronica Boquete gave Spain the lead in the 29th minute of the game. However, Korea made a comeback in the second half when captain Cho Sohyun scored their first goal in the 53th, followed by a second goal by defender Kim Sooyun, twelve minutes before the end of the game. “I tried to deliver a cross to Young-a, but it became a goal,” said Kim. “I got lucky, it was simply a matter of luck.” The second goal proved to be decisive in Korea’s victory against Spain, even in spite of a free-kick awarded to Spain in the last minute of the game. Korea will now advance to the Round of 16 for the first time in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they will face France in Montreal on June 21st.
Korea’s coach was humbly pleased with the outcome. “Today is a stepping stone for Korean women’s football. Our goal was to advance to the second round, and I am very pleased that we’ve reached this goal, as our players have gone through many difficulties to follow through with our objective,” says Yoon Dukyeo after the match. “We are pleased to take on the challenge of France (in the next round), they are a very strong opponent, and leaders in the football world. We know that, and our team thinks we still have a lot to learn – but we will do our best on the pitch.”
Even in light of the strong performances by both teams, I would have to say that the dedication, zeal, and effort of the Korean fans should also be brought to light. Just as the game commenced, the South Korean flag (that spanned a whole isle!) was rolled out in recognition of the fans’ stance in the game. Staff from the Korean Embassy was also passing out inflatable cheer sticks (“Korea Fighting!”) and red t-shirts in the stands, while drums were brought out and led the cheers that echoed through the stands. Volunteers also came by to help.
Many attempts in initiating supportive chants by fellow Spain supporters were soon drowned out by the percussion and the ensuing cheers of “대한민국! -짝짝짝 짝짝-” by Korea’s fans. People of all ages and ethnicities came out to support the Korean team, and their communal bias resonated throughout the stadium.
In light of how over 21 thousand fans were present at the game, I’d like to think that a good portion of those seats were due to the efforts of the Korean Embassy. ^^;; Their efforts were so evident on our side of the stadium, and I can only gleam with excitement and pride among the crowd of red and cheer sticks.
I can only hope that our cheers reached the Taeguk Ladies on the field, and that our endeavours in supporting them helped raise morals in the game!