[News] Jang Keun-suk says "proud to be Korean" after soccer match

Hallyu star and passionate soccer fan Jang Keun-suk has said that he is "very proud to be a citizen of Korea" after the country's soccer team made history by advancing to the Round 16 of the 2010 World Cup games for the first time on foreign soil.

The actor was beside himself with joy during a phone call with Asia Economic Daily on Wednesday morning, saying "Thank you so much, Taeguk Warriors [referring to players on Korea's national soccer team]. I am happy and again, I am happy." 

"I knew Park Chu-young would do it," said Jang about Park's early goal in the second half which gave Korea a brief lead in the game. "I am very sad because he could have scored more goals, but I'm still glad."

Jang had watched Korea's match against Nigeria at Seoul's Walkerhill Hotel, cheering for the country's soccer team with some 2,000 fans who took part in the club festival "South Africa in LOUNGE H." 

Jang, 23, has appeared in several notable television dramas and films including "Beethoven Virus" (MBC, 2008) and "The Case of Itaewon Homicide" (2009). 

He became a phenomenon in Korea and throughout Asia after starring in the hit TV series "Minamishineyo" (SBS, 2009), in which he portrayed an eccentric lead singer of idol group A.N.JELL.

Earlier this morning, South Korea's soccer team tied 2-2 with the Nigerians in the final Group B match of the first round, after defeating Greece 2-0 and losing to Argentina 1-4 in the first two games. 

Korea finished second behind soccer powerhouse Argentina in the group and the two teams will be advancing to the Round of 16, dubbed the "knockout stage."

Prior to this year's games in South Africa, the Korean team had never made it past the groups stages overseas since their first World Cup appearance in 1954. Their most successful run in the World Cup was back in 2002, when they made it to the semi-finals on home soil as the co-host of the games with Japan.

Korea will be playing against Uruguay on Saturday evening (Korea time).

Credits: Asiae