October 02, 2018 11:03
The popularity of the national men's football team is surging after a change of manager has instilled new hope among fans.
All 64,174 tickets available for an upcoming friendly against Uruguay in Seoul on Oct. 12 sold out in less than three hours after they went on sale on Monday afternoon. All 25,486 tickets for another friendly against Panama in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province on Oct. 16 also sold out quickly.
Portuguese coach Paulo Bento took the helm of the national team in August, and Korea has already played two friendlies at home under his leadership, which saw stadiums packed with tens of thousands of spectators.
Thanks to some young star players like Song Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo and Lee Seung-woo, who played a key role in Korea winning the gold medal at this year's Asian Games in Indonesia, fandom for the team has soared, especially among young girls.
Ranked No. 5 in the world, Uruguay is a strong opponent and boasts a star-studded squad including Luis Suarez of Barcelona, Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid, all of whom will be playing in the friendly in Seoul.
Bento on Monday announced a 25-man roster for the two upcoming friendlies, which is largely unchanged from the one for the previous friendlies in September.
Bento said, "I was satisfied with the two games we played in September. I am currently working to form the identity of the team. I will focus on building a foundation first and then make changes later."
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