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Korean Mecca
Photo essay: A place Korean football fans call home

Aram Basseri
June 8, 2006

Soccer has become much more popular in Korea since the South Korean team reached the semifinals and defeated Poland, Portugal, Spain and Italy along the way in the 2002 World Cup finals, which were co-hosted by South Korea and Japan. Last week South Korea had a warm up match with Norway in the host country, which was broadcasted in Korea at 2:00 AM. Korean soccer fans known as Red Devils gathered front of city hall and streets close to the plaza to watch the televised game. Private companies competed to secure rights to access Seoul Plaza, in order to expose their brand image to large crowds gather for live broadcasts from Germany. Companies such as SK telecom, the country's biggest mobile carrier and KBS, the biggest television station. Plaza became a sea of red on the night of the match, as soccer fans, sporting "Be the Reds" T-shirts, watched the match on giant outdoor screens. The cheering and chanting started hours before the match began and continued till 5 AM. This has become the cheering Mecca of the city, where thousands of fans gather regularly for televised football games and cheer Korean national team.

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Click on photo to see 29

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