TOKYO -- South Korea on Tuesday confirmed St. Petersburg as their base camp for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Korea Football Association announced that South Korea's training base will be in the host nation's second-largest city. The team will stay at the New Peterhof hotel.
Led by head coach Shin Tae-yong, South Korea are currently in Tokyo for the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship.
"St. Petersburg is quiet and provides a clean environment," said the KFA public affairs director Cho Jun-heon. "Head coach Shin said the most important thing is that the players can rest comfortably and peacefully there."
|In this file photo taken by the EPA on May 20, 2017, artists perform the annual Spring Fountain Show named "Journey to the Land of Don Quixote" at the Grand Cascade of the Peterhof Park in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Yonhap)|
At the 2018 World Cup, South Korea are paired with defending champions Germany, Central American heavyweights Mexico and European dark horses Sweden in Group F.
The Taeguk Warriors will open their World Cup campaign against Sweden at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18. South Korea will then face Mexico at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on June 23 and take on Germany four days later at Kazan Arena in Kazan.
St. Petersburg is approximately 1,140 kilometers away from Nizhny Novgorod, and 1,824 km away from Rostov-on-Don. It's 1,540 km from Kazan.
The KFA said that South Korea also considered Moscow as their base camp site, since it is close to their competition venues. Moscow is 425 km away from Nizhny Novgorod, 1,109 km from Rostov-on-Don, and 825 kilometers away from Kazan.
The KFA said it takes 30 minutes longer to fly from St. Petersburg to competition venues than to do so from Moscow, but it dropped the Russian capital out of consideration due to heavy road traffic.
"When considering travel time from our hotel to the airport, Moscow will take more than 30 minutes, while in St. Petersburg, it will take less than 30 minutes," Cho said. "Given the overall travel time, we decided that training in St. Petersburg would be better than staying in Moscow."
The KFA said Shin has inspected the training ground in St. Petersburg, which is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, and other facilities inside the hotel.
"There are no high buildings around our training ground, so it's good for us to conduct training drills safely," Cho added. "For our residence, Shin has checked every detail, from the color of the curtains to carpet quality." (Yonhap)