Korea parties on after World Cup win
Italians blame referee
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea is recovering from a wild night of celebrations that showed no sign of abating on Wednesday following their team's stunning World Cup second round win over Italy.
Millions of Koreans headed to work bleary and hung over, while others understandably took the day off, after a massive party which erupted when the "golden goal" an entire nation was praying for came in the final minutes of extra time. (Photo gallery)
Police officials said that almost 5 million people took to the streets in South Korea, 1.5 million in the capital Seoul alone, washing cities with the red colors of the national team.
The source of jubliation: striker Ahn Jung-hwan's header in extra time that gave Korea a 2-1 victory over the Italians and sealed the tournament co-host's path to the quarter-finals.
It was the second Korean team to beat Italy in the World Cup -- the first was a plucky North Korean outfit that dispatched the Italians home from England in 1966. No other Asian side has gone as far in the tournament. (World Cup: Special section)
There were reminders of that feat at the Daejeon stadium on Tuesday with fans flipping thousands of red and white cards spelling out "Again 1966."
"South Koreans have waited 40 years for their chance to emulate the North," said the English language Korean Times newspaper.
"Veni, vidi, vici," splashed the headline across the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, "Warriors have finally crossed the Rubicon and entered Rome."
"Hiddink troops have surprised the world and created new history," said another headline in the paper, elevating Dutch coach Guus Hiddink ever closer to demi-god status with many Koreans saying he would be a shoe-in for president should he decide to run.