Sunday, June 13, 2010

Korea vs. Greece at City Hall Plaza

Saturday evening was the first match for South Korea in the World Cup. Competing in group B, their first opponent was Greece. Excitement over this match over the past week or so has been mounting and by Friday it was the sole topic of conversation among most people, Korean or otherwise. "Where are you watching the game?" was the main question everyone was asking. Several large venues around town held viewing areas to watch the game. The main area was at City Hall Plaza, but there were also large gatherings in Olympic Park and World Cup stadium. Many bars around the city offered free drinks or prizes for guests whenever Korea scored a goal, so finding a good bar also sounded like a good choice.

When Saturday morning came around, the skies opened and the rain poured like I haven't seen it rain in a long time. I was starting to feel as though watching outside wasn't going to be such a good idea, but by the time I'd finished dinner the rain had more or less slowed down and we figured, why not, let's go to City Hall... what fun is it if you're not in the middle of the action, right?The picture above is basically what it looked like when we got to city hall. We made our way in a little ways and watched a little of the preshow before the game started.

Watching soccer, or any sport in Korea is always interesting. There are lots of cheers and people basically spend the entire length of the game shouting cheers. You wouldn't believe what the crowd sounds like when there's actually a goal. Jumping, screaming, clapping, horns blaring, fireworks popping overhead, it's a wild scene. Despite the rain, which came down for most of the game to varying degrees couldn't deter this crowd, the crowd had expanded out into the street when we finally made our way out.

In the end, Korea won, 2:0 to Greece, the first win of the World Cup. The victory dances were everywhere.
Congo lines on the green at City Hall Plaza.

Chanting and cheering around a guy wearing a Greece shirt in the middle of this circle. If he actually was a Greek, or Greek fan, he was taking his loss quite well.

Victory rally in front of Doksugung across the street.

The next Korea game is against Argentina on Thursday at 8:30. I don't finish work until 9:00, so I'll have to figure out how I'm going to watch. But, anyway, as fun as this was, I don't think I can take those crowds again for a while. I'll be content to sit in a bar or my own home and watch the next one.