Taeguk Warriors supporters prepare for night full of World Cup cheering
Many Koreans are expected to wake up before the sun rises on Tuesday, or perhaps stay up until then, to watch the national team’s round of 16 match against Brazil in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The Korea versus Brazil match will be held at 4 a.m. Korean time, but that won’t be stopping many from still watching the match live. Korea’s previous matches in the group stage were held between 10 p.m. and midnight, so the schedule for the Brazil match may seem daunting, but hardcore fans are nevertheless excited to stay up or wake up early to watch the Taeguk Warriors play.
“I plan to cheer out on the streets in Gwanghwamun with friends and go to work after a big bowl of soup,” said a 31-year-old man, who works at an office in downtown Seoul. “I didn’t really expect that we would advance to the round of 16, so I stayed at home for the Friday game against Portugal, but I was moved by our team’s play, and I want to experience the atmosphere on the streets.”
Even the weather forecast of minus 3 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit) cannot stop fans’ enthusiasm.
“I’m going to go to Gwanghwamun around midnight tonight on the last train and stay there until the morning,” said Kim Jae-un, 26. “I think I can bear the cold if I wear lots of layers of clothing. It’s going to be fine.”
Even some university students who have semester final exams coming up are planning to give up on sleep to watch the match. Kim Do-yeon, one such university student, plans to leave her house at 1 a.m. Tuesday to cheer on the streets of Gwanghwamun and get to her first class at 9:30 in the morning.
“Every scene from the last game against Portugal left a great impression on me,” said Kim. “I had to stay up all night afterwards for a test the next day, but I really want to go cheer on the streets, since this could be our last game.”
Some even took off a day of work to be able to cheer all night.
“I plan to stay up all night watching the game with friends, so I scheduled a day off Tuesday,” said a 28-year-old office worker. “I’m going to watch not only the Korean match but also the Japanese one at midnight. It might be another handful of years before we reach the round of 16 again, so I don’t want to miss it.”
Other Korea supporters prefer to watch the match indoors, and football pubs are filling up with reservations.
“I posted a reservation notice for the match against Brazil on social media on Saturday afternoon, a few hours after the match against Portugal, and all 120 seats were sold out within an hour,” said Kim Seong-min, 37, who runs a football pub in Mapo District, western Seoul. “I was surprised because the match is at 4 a.m. and I didn’t expect reservations to close so quickly. I think about half of the reservations are from office workers and the other half are students.”
Many cited the fighting spirit that the national team showed in the match against Portugal on Friday as the main reason for their decision to stay up all night.
“I was moved by the match and encouraged,” said Shin Gyeong-yeon, 24, a student, currently looking for a job. “I felt the players were telling me that I could also achieve what I want, as I was watching them make the deciding goals.”
“It was a hard end of the year for me so far, since I am unemployed, but the players’ enthusiasm and sportsmanship inspired me,” said Cho Jung-ho, 31. “I am looking forward to our players taking on the match even against Brazil, one of the world’s strongest teams.”
Street cheering for the match against Brazil will be held at Gwanghwamun Square in Jongno District, central Seoul, and at Suwon Convention Center in Gyeonggi on Tuesday morning. If Korea wins against Brazil, the Taeguk Warriors will move on to face the winner of the Japan-Croatia match in the quarterfinals.
BY CHOI SEO-IN, LIM JEONG-WON [email@example.com]