After the final whistle, however, it was not long before there were tears of despair as the Taegeuk Warriors found out that the victory ultimately was not enough for them to advance to the knockout round.
On Friday evening, at Education City Stadium, the South Koreans once again faced off against European heavyweights -- this time in the form of Portugal -- knowing they needed a win to stand any chance of advancing from Group H after picking up just one point from their opening two games against Uruguay and Ghana.
And, for a while, it looked as though they might be tasting disappointment on the biggest stage of all again when Ricardo Horta fired Portugal ahead after just five minutes.
But shortly before the half-hour mark, Kim Young-gwon pounced on the opposition's failure to deal with a corner to equalise from close range -- but as the game wore on, a solitary point still was not going to be enough.
Then, as the game ticked on into injury-time, Son Heung-min -- who has admittedly had a quiet campaign by his lofty standards -- charged forward on the break before feeding fellow Premier League man Hwang Hee-chan to score a dramatic winner for a 2-1 triumph.
With the other Group H tie still ongoing, South Korea then spent several nervy minutes in a huddle out on the pitch but a 2-0 win for Uruguay over Ghana was ultimately enough for them to advance on goals scored.
As the magnitude of the achievement began to sink in, it was remarkable how there were distinct similarities -- slightly eerie, arguably telling and undoubtedly poignant -- with that game against Germany back in 2018.
Once again, an unlikely avenue to goal proved to be the man for the big occasion as centre-back Kim equalised for South Korea just as he had opened the scoring against the Germans -- with an almost identical effort, as a corner kick was deflected into his path and he calmly swept a left-footed finish into the back of the net.
And just as it was the case back in June 2018, it was the sight of Son charging towards the opposition goal on the counter-attack with the game into added time that would have given the South Korean fans the slightest glimmer of hope.
On that occasion, he was left with an unguarded goal to finish into -- albeit from a tight angle -- after Germany's Manuel Neuer had gone forward in a last-ditch attempt to rescue his own team's campaign.
This time, with plenty of obstacles, Son opted to thread the neatest of through-balls for Hwang to run onto and send a clinical finish past Diogo Costa.
Once again, South Korea were made to find out their fate -- although the wait last time out was certainly hardly as long or agonising.
And when the whistle finally blew for the last time in the game between Uruguay and Ghana over at Al Janoub Stadium, it once again elicited an outpouring of emotion in the South Korean camp.
Only this time, they were tears of joy.