S. Korea to play 1st match at demountable stadium

DOHA– If South Korea make history and beat Brazil to reach the quarterfinals at the FIFA World Cup Monday night, the team won’t get to revisit the site of the historic win in the future.

An upset win over top-ranked Brazil will send South Korea to the final eight at an away World Cup for the first time. However, Stadium 974, the venue of the round of 16 showdown between the two countries, will be dismantled after the big tournament.

Stadium 974, located in the eastern part of Doha with a capacity of 44,089, has been built entirely from shipping containers and modular steel. The number refers to both Qatar’s international dialing code and the number of containers used in construction.
The demountable football stadium is a nod to Qatar’s long history of international trade and seafaring.

South Korea played all three group stage matches at one venue, Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha. They had a goalless draw with Uruguay on Nov. 24 and lost to Ghana 3-2 four days later. But last Friday, South Korea rallied past Portugal 2-1 to book a date with top-ranked Brazil in the knockout round.

Should South Korea upset Brazil, they will go back to Education City Stadium on Friday for the quarterfinals, against the winner of Japan-Croatia match in the round of 16.

Stadium 974, unlike other stadiums for this tournament, is not air conditioned, though its location by the bay provides a cool breeze off the ocean. Because of its lack of air conditioning, Stadium 974 only hosted night matches during the group stage, when there were matches starting at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. All final group matches kicked off at 6 p.m. or 10 p.m.

South Korea played their first two group matches at 4 p.m. and the last one at 6 p.m.

Brazil beat Switzerland 1-0 in their second Group G match at Stadium 974 on Nov. 28.

Because this year’s tournament is only using eight stadiums, as opposed to the usual 12, and had quick turnarounds between matches, teams weren’t allowed to train at their match venues beforehand. They are allowed, however, to have a “stadium familiarization” visit before playing at a venue for the first time.

South Korea did so before the opening group match at Education City Stadium. They did not visit Stadium 974 on Saturday, which was a full rest day for the team, with only an assistant coach and members of support staff paying a visit.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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