|In 1996, Korea and Japan were chosen by the FIFA to organize the World Cup. Seoul, lacking a soccer marketing pitch big enough to hold what is probably the biggest media event on the planet, was soon to possess a brand new purpose-built stadium, the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Construction started in April of 1999. 3 years and 160 million dollars later, the stadium was ready to hold the opening ceremony of the 17th World Cup. Here is a presentation of this stadium that symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the whole nation during the 2002 World Cup.|
| Design |
The Seoul World Cup Stadium, the largest soccer-only stadium in Asia, proudly exhibits its Korean roots. The roof, a real architectural gem, has the shape of a traditional Korean kite, is 50 meters high, is supported by 16 masts and covers 90% of the stadium’s seats. Clad with fiberglass fabric and polycarbonate glazing its looks as if it is made out of hanji – traditional Korean paper. At nighttime, illuminations bathe the stadium in a warm, soft light, much like the light shining through the paper of a traditional Korean lamp.
| The Stadium during the 2002 World Cup |
In addition to the opening ceremony, the Seoul World Cup Stadium hosted two first round matches as well as the semi-finals. The first match of this 17th World Cup was against titleholders France and Senegal, which ended in a surprise victory from the Senegalese team, 1-0. The second match was also held at the stadium against Turkey and China and saw an easy victory from the Turks, 3-0. The last match was the semifinals, which pitted Germany against South Korea. The Germans put an end to the fantastic progression of the Koreans by winning 1-0, which qualified them for the finals against the Brazilians.
| Red Devils |
Before the beginning of the World Cup, no one expected that the Koreans would reach the semi-finals. By going as far as the semi-finals the Koreans confirmed their position as the best team in East Asia. Victory after victory, an ever-increasing number of fans dressed in red (called “red devils”) took to the streets to support and cheer for their country to the rallying chant of “Daehan Minguk!” “Daehan Minguk!” (Soccer matches were televised all over the city on giant screen TVs.), which is the official name of South Korea).
| The Stadium After The World Cup |
Once the World Cup over, the stadium was turned into a “World Cup Mall” which incorporates commercial and sports facilities such as a cinema complex, an hypermarket, a wedding hall, a sports center as well as a large shopping mall. Here’s a brief overview of the facilities:
Carrefour Hypermarket: the biggest Carrefour in the country, you will be able to find some French products such as cheese, wine, and bread.
A Sports Center: a large fitness room, a swimming pool, and much more on a 242m² area.
A Sauna: a traditional sauna plus a Korean-style « jjimjilbang » sauna.
A Cinema Complex: This cinema has 10 screens and a seating capacity of 1,800. The “Gold Class” projection room seats only 30 people but does so in total comfort with high-backed chairs and lots of legroom.
A Wedding Hall: located on the 2nd floor, this large room can house 450 guests in total comfort and luxury. You’ll also find various amenities such as a beauty salon, a barbershop, a wedding dress shop, a photo room, etc.
A Shopping Mall: this is also on the second floor, which is a vast shopping mall where you’ll find clothes stores such as Polham, GAP, Guess, Levi’s, etc., jewelry stores, accessory shops, beauty shops, a food court, etc.
| Stadium tour |
The numerous pictures adorning the walls will enable you to soak up the atmosphere of the 2002 World Cup. The tour will take you through the grandstand and but also deep into the stadium into the locker rooms, conference rooms, and interview rooms, etc.
The modern and interactive world cup museum is also worth a visit. You’ll learn about the history of soccer and the history of the world cup as well as be able to experience the excitement of the 2002 World Cup. You’ll also have the opportunity to have your picture taken with the Korean soccer team. The souvenir shop is right next to the museum. Details :
| Around the Stadium |
The stadium is part of Seoul’s “Millenium City” which includes numerous parks and a golf course. The land where the stadium and parks were built was converted from a landfill site. A fountain has been built especially to commemorate the 2002 World Cup. Its 202 meters high jet makes it the world’s tallest fountain. The Stadium at a Glance
| How to Get There |
Take subway line 6 to World Cup Stadium station and go out of exit 2
Did you know?
English sailors introduced soccer to Korea in 1882.
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