The finale of the U-20 World Cup kicked off 1 AM on Sunday Korea time,… but the late kick-off didn't stop legions of football fans from leaving their homes to cheer for the national team.
Almost half of the 60-thousand seat Seoul World Cup Stadium in Sangam was packed with red-shirted fans.
While the majority of the fans arrived early in the stadium some 2 hours before the match,… the cheering officially began with the singing of the national anthem,… and a huge national flag being put up by the crowd.
Holding cheering props and clad in red, the national football team's signature color, they shouted "Daehanminguk " and "Oh Pilseung Korea" every time they had a chance.
And the cheering got even louderwhen Korea scored from the penalty spot less than 5 minutes into the game,… standing up and screaming in joy.
But as Ukraine mounted a comeback and scored three unanswered goals for their first-ever trophy,… Korean fans were left wondering about what could've been.
However, when the final whistle was blown, almost every fan expressed their full support for the young Taegeuk Warriors.
"It's an unfortunate result, but I am very proud of our team. I sincerely hope to see the team return home with a smile on their faces."
"Almost every player is around my age. I felt so much respect while watching them play hard and give everything they had. I hope they become good players in the future as well. Fighting "
Besides the World Cup Stadium, outdoor events were also held in several streets around Seoul, including places outside the bustling Gangnam subway station and a park surrounding Seokchon Lake.
And it wasn't just the capital city as well. Other major cities, including the southeastern port city of Busan and the southwestern city of Gwangju, transformed into a sea of red with football fans.
The national team fell short of winning the ultimate prize, but their historic acheivement has lit a fire in Korean fans, who have been waiting for a moment like this, since the country's magical run in the 2002 World Cup.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.