May 23, 2014 10:01
The players and coaching staff of Korea's national football team turned up in identical suits at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday morning for a group photo ahead of the World Cup.
The photo shoot proved a quite formal occasion, with the players clearly excited to see their teammates looking smart instead of wearing shorts, jerseys and cleats.
The players wore tracksuits for the previous World Cups that Korea competed in but adopted a formal suit and tie from South Africa 2010.
It was designed by Korean menswear brand Galaxy in various colors, such as grey for the players and navy for the coaching staff. But under the motto of "one team," everyone wore a navy suit this time. For any casual occasions, they were also given more comfortable suits consisting of a red T-shirt and white chino pants.
Most World Cup teams have formal uniforms. Italian players wear suits made by Dolce & Gabbana while French footballers rely on the creations of Christian Dior.
Football players tend to have bigger thighs and slimmer waists than most people, which the designers at Galaxy took into account. They went to Athens in March to take the measurements of each player when the team was preparing for a friendly with Greece.
The label made six sets of suits for manager Hong Myung-bo, who has more formal responsibilities than his wards. "It took six months from designing to making the suit due to the high level of customization," said Lee Hyun-jung at Galaxy.
Designers praised midfielder Ki Sung-yueng as the best "model" given his height and broad shoulders.
The uniform was made for comfort and convenience. The fabric is flexible and elastic, making it suitable for long flights. As many players enjoy listening to music, the jacket has a hole for earphones. An inner pocket for storing a smartphone or music-playing device was made with a special fabric that blocks electric waves.
The jacket also carries the initials of the player's name and the team slogan of "One team, one spirit, one goal" in the bottom inside corner.
"I've stressed the slogan since I became manager, so all of the players know it very well. I hope they bear it in mind every time they wear it," said Hong.
"The players all feel proud of the uniform as not everyone gets to wear it," said Koo Ja-cheol of FSV Mainz 05 in Germany's Bundesliga, who was recently named Korea's captain for the World Cup.
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