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South Korean fans ask 'Where's the party?'

Written by: Staff
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COLOGNE, June 5 (Reuters) South Korean fans brought their catchy chants and ubiquitous ''Be The Reds'' T-shirts to Cologne today, though not everyone shared their World Cup enthusiasm it seemed.

Scattered groups of red-clad Koreans began arriving at the city's main train station a day after their side crashed 3-1 to Ghana in their final World Cup warmup in Edinburgh yesterday.

Spirits were high despite some having slept in their cars in Scotland for the last couple of days. Some sported fading Korean flags painted on their cheeks for the Ghana game.

Kim Min-jung, whose brother is part of a large Korean student population in Cologne, was awe-struck by the city's magnificent cathedral outside the station but wondered where the party was.

''No one joins in when we sing 'Dae-Han-Min-Kuk','' said Kim, who could not resist clapping the remainder of the Korean fans' signature chant.

''People kept telling us to keep it down on the train. It was strange they didn't want to enjoy themselves.'' Kim said she had been expecting packed streets bursting with colour and noise rather than the quiet throng of tourists taking snaps of the cathedral.

PACKED STREETS She beamed as she recalled the atmosphere in Seoul four years ago when tens of thousands packed the streets to watch their team on huge screens.

''This isn't like 2002,'' she added. ''I hope the next World Cup is in Korea.'' The Korean team arrive tomorrow and will use Leverkusen's Bay-Arena to prepare for their Group G campaign, which kicks off on June 13 against Togo. They also face France (June 18) and Switzerland (June 23) in the first round.

Few outside the country predict South Korea can be as successful as they were in 2002, when they lost to Germany in the last four after racking up impressive if somewhat controversial victories over Italy and Spain.

A taxi driver sporting mini German flags on his car outside the station also seemed non-plussed by the Koreans arrival.

''No Korea referee this time,'' he said. ''They go home early.'' REUTERS AY RAI2041

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