This football fan wants South Korean team to reach BTS level on world stage

Kim has travelled to Qatar with three of his friends from Seoul to support their national team at this Fifa World Cup



South Korean fan Daniel Kim. Photos: Rituraj Borkakoty
South Korean fan Daniel Kim. Photos: Rituraj Borkakoty

By Rituraj Borkakoty from Doha

Published: Thu 24 Nov 2022, 7:34 PM

Daniel Kim was in elementary school when South Korea co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan and famously reached the semifinals.

Apart from Brazil’s fifth World Cup triumph in 2002 when the original Ronaldo played the lead role with eight goals, it was the Koreans’ dream run to the semifinals that captivated the world.

Each Korean win in that World Cup saw a sea of red in their biggest cities as people came out in their team’s colours to celebrate those victories. For Kim, that magical 2002 World Cup month still feels like yesterday.

“I was in the fourth grade. I was with my parents at one of the stadiums for a South Korea match. It was an amazing experience,” Kim told this reporter at the Education City Stadium in Doha before the start of South Korea’s opening game against Uruguay at Qatar 2022.

“I actually ran into one of our players from that 2002 World Cup team at the stadium here just now. Meeting him here brought back those memories today.”

Kim will also never forget the goals Ahn Jung-Hwan, who became a national icon in South Korea for his match-winning displays, scored in that tournament.

Jung-Hwan’s match-winning goal in the round of 16 against the star-studded Italy still remains one of the greatest World Cup moments in history.

“Ahn Jung-Hwan, yes, he scored crucial goals, in the round of 16 and in the group stage against USA. Those are the games and those are the goals that I will never forget in my life,” Kim said.

Daniel's friends who have come from Seoul for South Korea matches.
Daniel's friends who have come from Seoul for South Korea matches.

Kim has travelled to Qatar with three of his friends from Seoul to support their national team at this World Cup.

“Of course, our expectations are always high. But this is an unusual World Cup as it’s been held in November and December. So things are different,” he said.

“But our hopes are always big. Back home, everyone is really excited about the World Cup now. I think people are expecting the team to reach the round of 16. I think that will be a good result for the team.”

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Finally, Kim hoped that the Korean team would take inspiration from their hugely successful entertainment industry, especially their pop band BTS and its singer Jung Kook who performed at the Qatar World Cup opening ceremony.

“I was literally overwhelmed. I never imagined that one of the Korean singers would be invited to sing at the opening ceremony in a World Cup,” said Kim who is a big fan of Squid Games star Lee Jung-jae.

“But I think BTS is at a level now that is world-class. Hopefully, our national team can also reach the BTS level in world football!”


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