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Fortune has placed Korea second in soft power rankings of this year’s FIFA World Cup soccer finals in Qatar.

The American business magazine on Dec. 19 announced its rankings for the “World Cup of Soft Power” not based on a country’s performance on the pitch.

Countries on this list were ranked based on the following three criteria: “‘brilliant’ soft power, which comes from high performance levels and generates feelings of admiration; ‘beautiful’ soft power, which inspires hope and a sense of togetherness; and ‘benign’ soft power, which is found in positive attitudes and altruism.”

“The Koreans’ swashbuckling style of play, matched by exuberant fans, tapped perfectly into a national energy, which has seen it become a juggernaut of 21st-century popular culture,” it said.

Fortune lauded the popularity of Jungkook, who sang the tournament’s theme song at the opening ceremony, contributions from official FIFA sponsor and carmaker Hyundai-Kia Group, and the activity of national team captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur).

World Cup runner-up France topped the rankings, with Fortune saying the team’s performances “have only strengthened the national image and reputation.” Third was Morocco, the first African country to make it to the competition’s semifinals, and fourth Japan.

Source: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

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