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"South Korea's Performance Is Why The World Cup Exists", by Tom Ley.

There is almost no other scenario in sports in which players could find themselves simultaneously ambushed with such conflicting emotions. Over the course of about 15 minutes the South Koreans went from experiencing the creeping dread of an increasingly likely 0-0 draw or 0-1 loss, to the blinding, exhilarating thrill of a 2-0 win, all followed in swift succession by the cruel comedown of learning it changed exactly nothing and helped them not at all. What comes after all that? Pride? Devastation? Some sort of perverse euphoria? ...

No moral victory is ever an adequate substitute for the real thing, but maybe there’s some solace in the fact that the same circumstances which made today’s result such a crushing one for South Korea will also make their victory one that won’t be soon forgotten. Once Mexico’s meltdown had reached its full suck-o zenith, the entire soccer-watching world was fixated on South Korea. They didn’t disappoint themselves or anyone who was watching, and for a brief moment they were the stars of a tournament that had already closed itself to them. If any team playing in this morning’s games truly deserved to advance, it was South Korea, but teams don’t always get what they deserve. Sometimes they just get a glorious moment, and sometimes those moments end up mattering more than the results.

 

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