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U.S. team joins Korea, Japan, Belgium in 2nd round

Saturday June 15, 2002

YOKOHAMA, Japan — South Korea ended nearly a half-century of frustration at the World Cup, finally reaching the second round. It was kind enough to help the United States advance, too. 

In the first World Cup in Asia, the other co-host, Japan, also advanced unbeaten, helping preserve the record of no host nation ever going out in the first round. 

By knocking Portugal out of contention with a 1-0 victory Friday, the Koreans lifted the Americans into the round of 16 with them, despite a 3-1 U.S. loss to Poland. The Poles scored twice in the first five minutes. 

“We’re lucky,” captain Claudio Reyna said. “I think we deserve to go through, but we owe Korea a little thanks.” 

How about loads of thanks? 

“We owe a lot to Korea today,” said U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who saved a penalty kick for the second straight game. 

The Americans play Mexico on Monday. 

“Any opponent who makes it to the second round will be tough. We have to concentrate to win the game,” Mexican midfielder Gerardo Torrado said. “The U.S. is a team with a good defense, which always gives us trouble.” 

South Korea plays Italy on Tuesday. 

Hundreds of thousands of red-clad soccer fans dancing, singing and shouting “We won! We won!” paraded through downtown Seoul after the game.