when athletes’ emotions were brought on by sportsmanship
Before the game even started, Korea Republic’s supporters established the mood by raising a big Turkish flag and a banner that read, “We are buddies!” When the squads were announced in Daegu, those supporters demonstrated that they were sincere when they cheered both their own players and those of the opposition.
Their reward was a thrilling, public, and historic third-place match, as well as ecstatic compliments from the astounded Turkish visitors. Coach Senol Gunes led the chorus of adoration, praising the 63,000 spectators’ mood and sportsmanship as “simply outstanding.”
The same comment might have been made about Gunes’ team during the historic 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/JapanTM campaign and the game in question. When Hakan Sukur scored the fastest goal in World Cup history in just 11 seconds, Turkey even managed to do what seemed impossible: silence that raucous Korean crowd.
Sukur added two assists for Ilhan Mansiz to his goal, giving Turkey a 3-2 victory—the best result in Turkish football history—after going scoreless in his previous six tournament games. Their coach was ecstatic, saying, “My squad gave Turks hope and happiness.”
Of course, Korea Republic had also created history, finishing first overall after shocking victories over nations like Portugal, Italy, and Spain. After the loss against Turkey, their Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, declared, “I wanted to get third place – dearly.” But I can generally be extremely proud of these people when I see and hear how the audience responds to the squad and what they did in the second half.
Many accolades were still directed at the spectators, so players from both teams joined forces to do a collective bow, as seen in the picture, in appreciation of their support. Sukur and teammate Fatih Akyel also held the Korea Republic flag during their lap of honour, as the Turkish media lavished praise on both the home crowd and their victorious squad.
According to one newspaper, Milliyet, “our Korean friends delivered a great lesson in fair play.” “The depictions of friendship were amazing. Huge Turkish and South Korean flags were displayed together.
“The Korean team and Turkish team both made excellent plays. Even after the game, there was still a welcoming vibe. Players from both sides saluted the crowd while holding hands and arms. Our guys were moved to tears by such warmth.
Additionally, it was another another illustration of the World Cup’s and football’s unrivalled ability to inspire and bring people together.