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South Korea vs. Spain in World Cup Quarterfinals Saturday - 2002-06-21

The co-host of the World Cup football finals, South Korea, is set to take on Spain in a quarterfinal match Saturday (2:30am EDT) in Gwangu.

This will be, without a doubt, the biggest football match in this country's history. South Korea had never before made it to the second round of the World Cup. The Koreans upset Italy and now find themselves in a quarterfinal against Spain, as World Cup fever grows by the day.

About 700,000 people gathered outdoors when Korea met Poland in its opening match. Police expect about five million to mass in streets and parks around the nation to watch the game against Spain on huge video screens.

Schools are suspending final exams, and social gatherings of all kinds are being postponed so the Koreans can follow their beloved team. The Ministry of Justice plans to grant honorary citizenship to the Korean team's Dutch head coach, Guus Hiddink, probably after the World Cup is over. It would be the first time a foreign citizen would be so honored.

As for Coach Hiddink, he said his team will continue to play its all-out style of football against Spain. "There can't be a change in tactics, because this team has a very controlled, aggressive way of playing. And that's good. It's nice to see when they the play the (under) pressure. I think many teams should play like that. Some do, and it will pay off in their results, as well," he said.

The result all South Koreans are hoping for is a win over Spain to put them in the World Cup semi-finals.