South Korea, co-host of the World Cup football tournament, has upset Spain in a penalty kick shootout to reach the semi-finals. The remarkable performance by the Koreans at this World Cup continues, as they beat favored Spain in a penalty kick shootout, 5-3, in Gwangju Saturday.
The game was scoreless through 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time.
The first four Korean players all made their kicks from the penalty spot in the shootout, as did the first three from Spain. But the fourth Spanish player, Joaquin, hesitated for a moment before he struck the ball, and Korean keeper Lee Woon-Jae did not go for the fake and blocked the shot.
Up stepped captain Hong Myung-Bo for Korea with an entire nation nervously watching. His kick was good to clinch the victory.
Seoul resident Kim Jimy-Ung told VOA Sports the feeling after this win is hard to describe. "I cannot believe this. I mean, this is a dream come true, you know," he said. "Passing the first round, that was amazing, but I never expected the Korean team to be in the semi-final of the World Cup, you know. And my voice is gone right now, and I don't know what to say. It's just amazing," he said.
Bae Jae-Young was also among the thousands of fans gathered in the Plaza by Seoul's City Hall to watch the match on huge video screens.
"I think this is the kind of power Korea has in being all together. They have the same purpose. They have the same dreams. And I think it's stimulating many things in Korea, the political situation, the current situation, and I think it's a kind of an occasion to be together," Mr. Bae said.
No doubt there will be more togetherness for the next match featuring the World Cup co-hosts. With the 5-3 penalty shootout victory over Spain, South Korea moves into the semi-finals to play Germany here on Tuesday.