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South Koreans Are Not About to Miss the Party

Group D: Park's goal in 70th minute leads to 1-0 victory and a berth in the second round.

June 15, 2002|From Associated Press

INCHEON, South Korea — South Korea wasn't about to become the first World Cup host to miss the second round.

With co-host Japan advancing earlier Friday, South Korea was under pressure to keep that record intact.

Park Ji-Sung scored in the 70th minute to lead South Korea to a 1-0 victory over Portugal and into the next round.

South Korea's victory allowed it to win Group D and knocked out the world's fifth-ranked team, touching off celebrations throughout the country.

"I think it did a lot for the people of Korea," said Coach Guus Hiddink, a Dutchman whose popularity has risen with South Korea's success. "I think we even underestimated a little what it means for them. It gave me very much satisfaction."

The co-hosts play three-time champion Italy in the second round on Tuesday in Daejeon.

President Kim Dae-jung, who watched the game at the stadium, visited the locker room and thanked Hiddink and his squad for the victory, which he called "one of the happiest moments in the nation's 5,000-year history."

Portugal spent much of the match short-handed. Joao Pinto and Beto received red cards, which left Portugal with nine players and striving for a tie to advance.

Pinto was dismissed, despite protests from most of the Portuguese players, after smashing into Park with a two-footed challenge from behind. Beto was sent off in the 65th minute after receiving his second yellow card.

The winning goal came after Park took a cross from the left, chested the ball down, flicked it around a defender and drove a shot through goalkeeper Vitor Baia's legs.

In the last minute, Sergio Conceicao hit the post with a volley, one of several chances the Portuguese missed.

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