The nation's capital and other major cities are planning street cheering events for South Korean matches at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, hoping to create buzz for an event that has been overshadowed by political and diplomatic events here.
Seoul announced earlier this week that it will organize outdoor viewing parties with the Korea Football Association at Seoul Plaza, in front of Seoul City Hall, and Gwanghwamun Square.
South Korea's first Group F match is against Sweden at 9 p.m. next Monday. The Taeguk Warriors will next face Mexico at midnight June 23, and then Germany at 11 p.m. on June 27.
A 500-inch screen will be installed at Gwanghwamun Square, and performances by local recording artists will fire up the crowd prior to each kickoff.
According to Seoul, police and medical services workers will be on hand to handle medical emergencies, and extra subway trains and buses will be added in late hours on match days.
While the fans will be partying like it's 2002 -- when street cheering for World Cup matches first took root here with South Korea, as a co-host with Japan, reaching the semifinals -- it's doubtful the team on the field will be able to match the feat from 16 years ago. At No. 57, South Korea are the lowest-ranked team in Group F, and will be underdogs in every match. Their lackluster performances heading into the World Cup haven't inspired much confidence in the increasingly skeptical and cynical fan base. The World Cup has been lost in the shuffle among casual fans, with South Korea's first match coming on the heels of the historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday and local elections the next day.