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Korea's national team played a well-fought soccer game. Monday's game against the United States ended in a 1-1 draw, but the team showed hidden strength that did not give out even after being behind 1-0 well into the second half. Then the country's players responded to the cheering people with a game-tying goal.

Whether Korea will advance to the second round will depend on the match Friday against Portugal. The European team's defeat by the United States last week gives us hope for a victory.

Monday's match could not have come with nerves more on edge; but both inside and outside the stadium, all who watched the game remained within the bounds of mature sportsmanship. Whether they were at home or at work, on the street, at a square or park, 40 million fans cheered for the players with one voice, never straying out of order. Even after a goal scored against our team, they turned up the volume in rooting for the players with the hope and belief that "We can do it." All the concern about anti-American sentiment blowing up was also proven groundless.

The Korean team played a superior game throughout. The fighting spirit showed by Hwang Sun-hong, who continued play with his bleeding head wound wrapped in a bandage, was an inspiring sight. So was Lee Eul-yong, who came back from an error on a penalty kick to make the assist on the second-half goal. Ahn Jung-hwan provided the light moment after his goal by imitating the strides of a short-track skater. It was, to the satisfaction of many Korean fans, a reference to the Winter Olympics skater, Kim Dong-sung, who was stripped of a gold medal by a mistaken call by an official.

The Korean team is preparing for the game with Portugal to enter the round of 16, but our team has already accomplished its goal of winning its first World Cup game.

The prospects for advancing to the next round are not bad at all. The skill and spirit shown by our players in the U.S. and Poland games will certainly be helped by enthusiastic cheers by the fans to tackle this next goal.

We join everyone in the country in cheering for Coach Guus Hiddink and the players to stage another thrilling game.

The real game is only now beginning to be played.
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