Netflix’s Dream Ending, Explained: Does The Korean Team Win?

Charting The Korean National Team’s journey to The Homeless World Cup Tournament, ‘Dream’ is a Netflix South Korean sports comedy film directed by Byeong-heon Lee. The film follows professional soccer player Yoon Hong-Dae tasked with training the country’s new soccer team for the upcoming Homeless World Cup in Budapest. Thus, begrudgingly putting on a show for the documentary filmed by Lee So-Min, an exhausted and bossy filmmaker, Hong-Dae puts together a ragtag bunch and tries to coach them toward success. However, after arriving at the tournament, the team and their coach start to realize they may have bit off more than they can chew.

If you’re curious to see where this undertaking leads Hong-Dae and his players, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Dream.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Dream Plot Synopsis

After a pro soccer match that woefully reminds Hong-Dae of his position as only the second-best in the team, the player receives repeated aggravation from a reporter during the press interviews. When the reporter continues to pester Hong-Dae with malicious questions about his fugitive mother, Hong-Dae pokes the former’s eyes with his fingers. The incident ends up plastered all over the news and the internet, ruining the athlete’s reputation. Hong-Dae, already planning to retire, decides to move to the entertainment industry to fix his reputation and make some money.

However, Hong-Dae is less than pleased when his agency proposes that he partakes in a documentary about Korea’s debut in the Homeless World Cup and coach the National Team. Still dragging his feet, Hong-Dae has to comply and meets with Lee So-Min, the documentary director. The two get off on the wrong foot and continuously bicker throughout their collaboration. Soon, Hong-Dae gathers a team of perfect misfits, chosen for their audience appeal at So-Min’s insistence.

The team consists of Hwan-dong Kim, a former CEO; Hyo-bong Jun, a divorced father of one; Moon-sy Jeon, an eclectic individual; and Beom-su Son, who quits the team after the first day. Nevertheless, after Beom-su realizes Jin-jiu, the disabled woman he loves, has a thing for soccer players, he returns to the team. Still, his enthusiasm comes out in abundance and injures Hwan-dong, the only player from the team who could score. Consequently, Hong-Dae recruits a young homeless man, In-Sun Kim, after some convincing.

Although In-Sun is only mediocre as a striker, he shows promise, especially surrounded by his unskilled teammates. As time passes, Hong-Dae starts caring about his team, regardless of the begrudging persona he maintains. Soon, however, disaster strikes when sponsors start dropping out, leaving the team with insufficient funds to travel to Budapest for the competition. The same puts So-Min and Hong-Dae’s careers on the line, while Hong-Dae’s trouble-making mom simultaneously gets caught for her illegal scams.

Moreover, Hong-Dae lands himself in trouble again after fighting with a group of high school students. Nonetheless, the team is able to persevere through it all after clearing Hong-Dae’s name by releasing video evidence proving that the boys were harassing Jiu-jin, thus instigating the fight with Hong-Dae. The same launches Hong-Dae to fame for his heroic actions, which helps gather donations for team funding.

As the tournament nears, Hong-Dae faces a dilemma between starring in a popular reality show or attending the tournament with his team. Although he falters a little, he ultimately chooses the latter. However, in Budapest, the team finds themselves in for a rude awakening when they discover that the other countries’ teams are evidently good at soccer. Their first match proves their incompetence further after they lose 12-0.

Dream Ending: Does The Korean Team Win Against Germany?

Shortly after The Korean Team drastically loses their first match against Costa Rica, Beom-su accidentally injures his wrist while partying. The same leads So-Min to learn they can get a reserve player from another team since they didn’t bring their own. So-Min is already distressed that the other teams are much better than Hong-Dae’s group. Watching her team bite the dust spectacularly makes her believe her documentary is in danger.

As such, when the Korean Team gains two Brazilian reserves, So-Min sees the opportunity to record at least one win for her documentary. Inversely, the rest of the team is incredibly displeased by this ordeal. Even though, with the reserves, the team starts scoring, everyone can tell they don’t actually deserve those scores. As such, after the first match, when Korea goes against Germany, the team realizes they care more about proving themselves than winning.

Each member participates in the tournament because they have something to prove. Everyone from Hwan-dong to Moon-sy has important people in their lives, and they want to show them that they’re not just quitters. Although the team knows they won’t be able to win, they understand the merit of trying. Therefore, Hong-Dae subs in Beom-su instead of the Brazilian players, regardless of his minor injury.

Likewise, during the second half, when it becomes clear that Goalie Moon-sy can’t go on any longer, Hwan-dong asks to be put in the game. Even though he can’t take the position of a striker due to his healing ankle, he goes in as the goalie. During the second half, the audience can blatantly see their dedication when the Korean team enters the field. The game is rough, but every player bends over backward to prevent the other team from scoring.

Eventually, even the crowd starts cheering for Korea, moved by their commitment and persistence. The second half of the game ends with In-Sun scoring a goal, tying the second half of the game. Ultimately, Korea loses to Germany 6-1, but they win over the audience, becoming the most popular team in the 2010 tournament. In the end, they win one game in the tournament and lose ten. Still, they receive the “Best Newcomer Award,” with their documentary taking off as a chronicle of their hard work and tenacity.

Does Yoon Hong-Dae Return To His Soccer Career?

At the film’s beginning, Hong-Dae seems set on his decision to retire from soccer. During the opening match, Hong-Dae realizes he will never achieve the level of greatness he wants to achieve since he’ll always be number two to Sung-chan Pak, the team captain. In the middle of the game, Hong-Dae checks Sung-chan by running parallel to him when the latter has the ball. This action garners much controversy since it could have cost the team a score.

Nevertheless, the same proves to Hong-Dae that he will never be as good as Sung-chan since he fails to catch up to him, literally and figuratively. Therefore, Hong-Dae wants to move into the entertainment industry to collect a few paycheques before he can retire. However, after his experience in the Homeless World Cup, Hong-Dae’s worldview changes.

Hong-Dae always pushes himself to be the best. This habit likely stems from his tumultuous childhood with a reckless teenage mother, who continues to be reckless well into adulthood. All his life Hong-Dae has had to win to come out on top. However, his team shows him that trying your best is more important than winning. By the end, Hong-Dae falls back in love with soccer as a sport and realizes he doesn’t actually want to retire so early.

In the end, Hong-Dae joins Korea’s National Soccer Team again, and for his first match back on the field, his entire Homeless World Cup team arrives at the stadium to support him. Likewise, So-Min is also there, now a success story after her documentary takes off. Even Hong-Dae’s mother, who has never made it to a game, shows up alongside her new boyfriend and kid. Hong-Dae plays with new vigor and scores a winning goal marking his career’s new beginning.

Does Kim In-Sun Find His Friend?

Throughout the film, every player arrives on the field with their past baggage, either the reason or the result of their homelessness. Kim In-Sun, the team’s star striker, is no exception. As a 7-year-old, In-Sun undergoes immense trauma after his parents drug him and commit suicide while their son is unconscious. Although In-Sun makes it out of that incident alive, it renders him unable to speak due to his aphasia, a language disorder. Due to the same, he’s left prone to bullying and faces abuse from other kids.

Still, In-Sun finds one friend in a kind girl as a kid, and the two remain inseparable. With her help, In-Sun gets better at speaking, and the two continue to grow together. Even though they only ever have each other, they find happiness in their lives. Eventually, during a work picnic that turns deadly after a natural disaster, In-Sun loses his friend. The police never find her body, so In-Sun never gives up hope and keeps looking for her, putting up missing person posters wherever he can.

When In-Sun plays at the Homeless World Cup and becomes a part of the documentary, he hopes to reach as far across the country as possible to tell his friend that he never stopped looking for her. Throughout the film, In-Sun sees her face in the crowds, but it is only a trick of his mind. Although the same lands him in trouble the first time, he learns to recognize the illusion for what it is.

In the end, In-Sun is still looking for his friend, but he has also started to heal. Though it would take In-Sun a long time to make peace with the fact that his friend is likely dead, he’ll also have the support of his new family to help him through it.

Read More: Is Netflix’s Dream Based on a True Story?