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Pride In Koreatown Even As Brazil Beats South Korea In World Cup Round Of 16

An Asian American woman and Asian American girl, both wearing red Korea shirts cheer on the team as the watch a giant tv off-camera.
Hundreds filled the food court and atrium of the Koreatown Plaza to watch the Brazil v. South Korea game.
(Josie Huang
LAist )
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Siblings Jason and Jane Lee took the workday off to root for South Korea in the World Cup with hundreds of other fans inside Koreatown Plaza, knowing full well the challenge their favorite team faced against top-seeded Brazil.

"As long as they finish strong, I'd be very proud of the outcome regardless of whatever the score is," said Jason Lee, an accountant and life coach, as he monitored the game on a giant television screen set up in the mall's atrium.

This was only the third time South Korea had made it to the round of 16, so his sister felt compelled to drive up from San Diego early in the morning to catch the game with him.

"I just feel like anytime Asians get together to cheer for something, a feeling arises in me for some reason," said Jane Lee, a financial manager.

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Several South Korea soccer fans watch a giant screen televising the World Cup.
Hundreds filled the food court and atrium of the Koreatown Plaza to watch the Brazil v. South Korea game.
(Josie Huang/LAist)

But the ecstasy that came with South Korea's surprise defeat of Portugal last week eluded fans Monday, as their team fell 4-1 to Neymar and the rest of the powerhouse Brazilian team.

With South Korea trailing 4-0 at halftime, the crowd began to thin. But those who remained erupted in cheers as Paik Seung-ho's goal got Korea on the board in the 76th minute.

For Julie Lo, that was enough of a win. The Culver City resident had taken her 5-year-old daughter Cora out of kindergarten for the occasion.

"We felt like this was a special moment," Lo said. "It's a miracle that they're even here in this game and we wanted to capture the essence of cheering for Korea together."

Michael Im, who was visiting from Birmingham, Alabama, also said he was happy with South Korea's performance.

"We made it with that one goal," said Im, who works as a mobile network engineer.

A Korean American woman and Korean American man wrap their arms around each others' shoulders.
Siblings Jane and Jason Lee joined the watch party at the Koreatown Plaza.

With South Korea out of the competition, Lee said he will cheer on Argentina and the legendary Lionel Messi.

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"He's on the shorter side like myself," Lee laughed. "So it's really cool to look up to someone that is going out there against the giants."

Have a question about Southern California's Asian American communities?
Josie Huang reports on the intersection of being Asian and American and the impact of those growing communities in Southern California.