S. Korea says no problem with hybrid football fields in Russia for 2018 World Cup

April 11, 2018
This photo taken by the Associated Press on Jan. 30, 2018, shows Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Yonhap)

This photo taken by the Associated Press on Jan. 30, 2018, shows Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Wednesday said hybrid football fields that will be used for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will not give trouble to its national football team.

All 12 competition venues for the 2018 World Cup will have a hybrid surface that is a mix of natural and synthetic grass. According to officials, the hybrid turf strengthens the durability and structure of the natural grass and allows players to be safer.

Most South Korean players are not used to playing on hybrid fields as all 12 K League 1 clubs’ home stadiums are equipped with natural grass pitch.

Among the national players, those who play overseas are familiar with hybrid pitch. Midfielder Jung Woo-young, who plays with Vissel Kobe in Japan, should have no trouble with hybrid grass as his club’s home stadium uses such pitch. English Premier League players like Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Ki Sung-yueng of Swansea City are also familiar with hybrid pitch as major stadiums use that type of turf.

National team officials, however, said South Korean players will not face difficulty adjusting to the new pitch since they’ll have intensive training at their base camp in Russia. After announcing their final roster, South Korea will enter their base camp in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 12.

“Spartak Stadium, our training ground in St. Petersburg, has a hybrid surface, so we’ll have intensive training there to adjust to the pitch until our first match against Sweden,” an official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) said. “There aren’t big differences between natural grass pitch and hybrid pitch, so we believe our players will not have a difficult time.”

At the 2018 World Cup, South Korea is in Group F along with Germany, Sweden and Mexico. The Taeguk Warriors will open the tournament against Sweden on June 18 at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod and will face Mexico on June 23 at Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don. They’ll wrap up the group stage against defending champions Germany on June 27 at Kazan Arena in Kazan.

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