Sunday 18th June

Mannheim, Leipzig

Group G Zentralstadion Leipzig 21.00

France v Korea Republic

My last memories of seeing Korea were dashing from the stadium in Daejon as fireworks lit up the sky and 40,000 Koreans went crazy after they defeated Italy. Arriving in the early hours back in Seoul the whole city was out on the streets celebrating. Moving on four years and a lot of those present then have caught football fever and they are over here in Germany. I didn’t realise the relevance back in 2002 but I now suppose that the country’s name is derived from its passion for choreography.   In Leipzig town centre two troupes entertained the “reds” gathered and encouraged everyone to join in their singing and dancing routines. Before each song the words were clearly recited and the dance moves to be used were demonstrated to all those present so they could join in. Those present to a man (well almost) joined in the festivities.                     At the stadium the same organisation was shown as they displayed a banner with a message (sorry it was in Korean) and then for the anthem unfurled the national flag, which they then swayed from side to side. At the other side of the stadium another flag was unfurled and I could swear it was swaying in time with the other flag. Throughout the game the co-ordinators of this support could be seen giving orders as to what was to happen next and the provided a wall of sound that continued throughout the game, no matter how their team were faring.   The fans appeared to be an inspiration to their side who grew stronger as the game wore on, and rewarded their enthusiasm with a late equaliser. Definitely the best supporters of the tournament.