Daegu, South Korea — Turkish striker Hakan Sukur needed just 11 seconds to break his scoring drought, set a record for fastest goal in a World Cup and help lead his team to victory in the third-place game.
The Turks won 3-2 Saturday night over co-host South Korea, which drew raucous cheers from an appreciative, red-clad crowd that came to Daegu's World Cup Stadium to celebrate the nation's unprecedented success on soccer's biggest stage.
Scoreless in 500 minutes during six previous tournament matches, Sukur's status as Turkey's star was in question. He took care of those doubts quickly, giving the Turks a 1-0 lead and silencing more than 63,000 fans in the stadium.
He also combined with 21-year-old striker Ilhan Mansiz on two other goals to give the Turks a 3-1 halftime lead. The margin wasn't narrowed until deep into injury time, when Song Chong-gug scored for South Korea.
"I'm so happy for Hakan," Mansiz said. "He was under intense pressure. The press, the people, all were on to him because he hadn't scored a goal here it was a big relief for us and him."
"When would I have scored if not in the last game of the tournament?" Sukur said. "Many people were waiting for me to score a goal, but I didn't have much luck in previous matches."
Mansiz, who as a substitute scored the overtime winner in the quarterfinals against Senegal, started Saturday in place of injured forward Hasan Sas, who had been the spearhead of Turkey's attack.
"Hakan proved he's got more to show with a great goal, and he also assisted me, which proves to people that we can work well together," Mansiz said.
The Turks lost twice to Brazil a 2-1 loss in the first round and a 1-0 defeat in Wednesday's semifinal. Otherwise, they were sensational.
Coach Senol Gunes said the Turkish people could continue their love affair with the national team that started with qualification for its first European championship in 1996, then blossomed with a quarterfinal run at Euro 2000 and the triumphant World Cup campaign.
"My team gave Turks hope and happiness," Gunes said. "It's going to be the meeting of two lovers tomorrow."
The Turkish squad had a charter flight back to Istanbul and hoped to complete the journey in time to catch today's final between Brazil and Germany at home with their families, friends and fans.
"We always said we came with pride and we will return with pride," Gunes added. "We wanted to go as far as possible. We were dreaming of winning the Cup. We are sorry we couldn't win."
So were the South Koreans, although they were winners in every other way. They beat Poland, Portugal, Italy and Spain and were unbeaten until a 1-0 semifinal loss to Germany.
South Korea hadn't won a match in five previous trips to the tournament and the magnitude of its achievement in the first World Cup in Asia wasn't lost on the South Korean people, who celebrated en masse despite consecutive losses.
"I would've liked to get third place desperately," said South Korea's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who also guided the Netherlands to fourth in France in 1998. "But we made some big mistakes in the first half in defense.
"When I see and hear the public reacting to the team and what they did in the second half, I can be very proud in general of these guys."
There was plenty at stake in the match, with both nations in the final four for the first time. But the direction of the game was set immediately by Sukur.
Sukur swooped in on a defensive error by rival captain Hong Myung-bo and put a right-footed shot wide of Korean goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae to open the scoring. The previous record for earliest goal was 15 seconds by Vaclav Masek in Czechoslovakia's first-round match against Mexico in 1962.