Korea goes down 1-4 after desperate fight
It's not over yet. Despite losing the game, Korea's chance of advancing to the round of 16, or the elimination phase of the World Cup, remains intact. With a Group B match against Nigeria remaining, Korea will have to win their next game to move on to the knockout rounds.
Facing Argentina for the first time at the World Cup since 1986, Korea got off to a backward start as Park Chu-young deflected the ball into Korea's own goal in the 17th minute. Then Gonzalo Higuain's goal in the 33rd minute put a damper on Korea's chances.
Korea battled back briefly, as Lee Chung-yong's goal in injury time before the half pulled Korea within a goal. Despite some well-fought attempts, Korea couldn't add another goal in the second half, while Higuain added two in the 76th and 80th minutes for a hat trick.
The high-scoring affair was a thrill for fans, who have griped that this year's Cup has seen few exciting matches and lower scores than usual.
With clear weather, large crowds gathered to watch the game on mega-screens around the country.
Football fans started gathering early in the afternoon to secure seats at such popular spots in the capital as Seoul Plaza.
Last Saturday, a million Koreans braved a heavy downpour to cheer for their team during their opening match win over Greece. Clear weather - and very high hopes - resulted in at least double the turnout yesterday compared to the match against Greece.
Early estimates had roughly two million fans gathering around 339 public viewing locales around the country, while roughly 740,000 gathered at Seoul City Plaza, COEX and Banpo Han River Park.
Korea's final Group B match against Nigeria is set for next Wednesday, with a 3:30 a.m. kickoff, Korea time. Last night's loss means Korea must earn a win to stay in contention.
As Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria has traditionally fielded entertaining, attack-minded clubs.
However, expectations for the Super Eagles is significantly lower this time around.
Despite being ranked 21st in the world, and the strong play from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, the squad has shown weaknesses in teamwork and defense in recent matches.
By Jason Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]
More in Baseball
New look, new position, new Kim Won-jung
Ryu Hyun-jin cuts his hair and promises to play better
Futures League to trial robot umpires
Kim tests negative after Covid outbreak at Cardinals
Resurgent Heroes take second as Dinos' lead narrows