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S. Korea ex-football star Yoo Sang-chul dies from cancer

Yoo Sang-chul scored against Poland to kick off South Korea's 2002 World Cup group stage with a victory

Former South Korean footballer Yoo Sang-chul, who starred in the country’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the Korea Football Association said Monday. He was 49.

The midfielder was a mainstay of the South Korean team when they took the world by surprise under Guus Hiddink at the 2002 World Cup, which the country co-hosted with Japan.

Yoo scored against Poland to kick off the group stage with a victory, the team going on to defeat Italy and Spain.

He made FIFA’s All-Star team of the tournament that year.

The KFA confirmed his passing with a message: “We will forever remember the shouts and glory of that day with you. Rest in peace.”

Yoo spent his 16-year club career in Asia, playing in Japan’s J-League and his country’s K-League.

He went into coaching, most recently at Incheon United in 2019, but was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer that year, forcing him off the bench just months later.

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Fans were shocked by the news of his passing and posted messages of condolence online.

“Thank you for gifting us with a great memory, which we will cherish forever,” read one message.

Another fan commented: “A hero to us all, please rest in peace now.”

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