SEOUL, June 19 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans partied outdoors through the night and greeted Monday with cheers and dancing in the streets after seeing their team grab a 1-1 World Cup draw with 98 champions France.
Fans who gathered in downtown Seoul about eight hours before the game erupted into cheers after the match ended and giant screen TVs showed a table that had South Korea on top of Group G with four points.
The match started at 4 a.m., local time (1900 GMT) and finished just before the morning rush hour. Outdoor venues across the country staged events on Sunday night, such as concerts with top pop musicians, well before the match.
Fans clogged the streets of central Seoul and banged drums, shot off bottle rockets and erupted into enormous cheers when Park Ji-sung drew the match level with his late second half goal.
Although the road to the knockout round is far from certain, many fans beamed with confidence after the draw.
'I love Park Ji-sung. He will take us to the next round. We will beat Switzerland,' said fan Kim Kong-sik.
Partying fans were later cleared from the main streets of the capital by thousands of riot police so a small army of garbage men and street sweepers could clean up the mess they left behind.
'I feel so great this morning. Korea is fighting,' said fan Kim Gi-youn.
Korea play Switzerland on Friday in Hanover (Saturday, 0400 Korean time).