World Cup Fever
Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
48Trip End Sep 28, 2010
The tournament started on Friday June the 11th, which coincided with Ania and a student's birthdays over the next few days, so we decided to go out after class and celebrate. Almost all of the bars in Ingyedong's main pedestrian thoroughfare had huge LCD TVs set up, and it was a great place to sit and watch the opening ceremony and game between South Africa and Mexico
South Korea's first game was against Greece the following evening, and Ania and I joined a colleague of mine, Jamar, and two of his Korean friends to watch the game. Despite the rainclouds, we decided to watch the game at Suwon's World Cup Stadium, along with about 20,000 others. The atmosphere was electric, and the sound deafening when South Korea scored their two goals to come out victorious 2-0. As we walked back into the city the cars were beeping and people were hanging out of the windows cheering. I'd never seen anything quite like it!
After waking early to see Australia thumped by Germany 4-0, I felt that South Korea offered more of an opportunity for success, so I eagerly awaited their second game against Argentina. It was on a Thursday night, during my last evening class, so I told my students to reserve a table at a bar and we would have class there. Unfortunately, despite a late first half goal, the Reds went down 4-1.
Ania and I hosted a small party the following Saturday evening, after which we made our way to a nearby bar to watch Australia take on Ghana
I did rise at 3am for Australia's final game against Serbia, during which for a few heartstopping moments it looked as if way might get through. However, despite the 2-1 victory, we were edged out on goal difference, with the thumping loss to Germany coming back to haunt us.
South Korea's second round game was against Uruguay on Saturday June 26th, and Ania and I decided to head back out to Suwon's World Cup Stadium to watch the game. We considered going to Seoul to see it, but with more rain forecast we opted for the shelter of the stands. Joining us was a friend of Ania's, Eri, and for a while one of her friends. Although Uruguay struck first, South Korea replied mid way through the second half, to which the crowd at the stadium erupted. Could South Korea make it through to the quarters? We all held on to the hope, but a defensive error saw the Uruguayans strike with a few minutes remaining, knocking out my adopted home team.
Following the loss, it was as if the tournament was over for the locals. No one cared about the quarters or semis, although I watched all of the 'early' games at 11pm. I also rose at 3am on Monday July the 11th for the final, and was pleased to see Spain knock off the Netherlands. In all, it was great to see the tournament in Korea, and despite the disappointment of being knocked out so early it was still a great time. And I wasn't bothered about staying put and not travelling in the slightest!