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2002 World Cup Venues 20 Years On


The South Korea-Japan World Cup kicked off on On May 31st 2002. Ten of the 20 venues were located in South Korea, but what has become of those stadiums? Which ones are still in use?

Seoul World Cup Stadium


2002 World Cup Matches

Seoul World Cup Stadium was the venue for the opening match between France and Senegal, where the latter beat the then holders 1-0 in Group A. It was also where South Korea narrowly lost in the semifinal to Germany and where Turkey beat China 3-0 in Group D. 

Group A – France 0-1 Senegal 
Group D – Turkey 3-0 China PR
Semi-final – Germany 1-0 Korea Republic

Design & Construction

Opened: 10th November 2001
Cost: $185 million
Capacity: 63,961

Even 20 years on, Seoul World Cup Stadium is still an impressive stadium and is showing no signs of ageing. The roof is shaped like a traditional Korean kite, is 50 meters high, is supported by 16 masts, and covers 90% of the stadium's seats. The fibreglass fabric and polycarbonate glazing make it look as if it is made out of hanji – traditional Korean paper. At nighttime, the lights give it a soft glow, much like the light shining through the paper of a traditional Korean lamp. 

Now

The current inhabitants are, of course, FC Seoul who moved in in 2004. It was also the venue for the FA Cup final in 2001, won by Daejeon Citizen. Daejeon, then, were the first team to win a major trophy at Sangam. The 2003, 2005, 2006, 2014, and 2015 FA Cup finals were also played at Seoul World Cup Stadium as one-leg affairs and it has served as the home stadium for most of the national team's World Cup qualifiers. 

More pictures: here

Daegu World Cup Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

Daegu World Cup Stadium, now Daegu Stadium after a name change in 2009, was one of the few venues that hosted four matches in the 2002 World Cup. It was also the only stadium in Korea to have two of the host nation's matches with the Taeguk Warriors drawing 1-1 with the USA in Group D before losing the third-place playoff to Turkey 3-2. 

Group A – Denmark 1-1 Senegal
Group B – South Africa 1-0 Slovenia
Group D – Korea Republic 1-1 USA
Match for third place – Korea Republic 2-3 Turkey

Design & Construction

Opened: 28 June 2001
Cost: $265 million
Capacity: 68,014

Daegu Stadium is actually the biggest of the World Cup stadiums with roughly 5,000 seats more than Seoul. The roof is, apparently, designed to resemble a globe and in a way that incorporates the "beautiful curves" found in the roofs of traditional Korean houses. One interesting feature of the stadium in terms of practicality is that the walkways are designed so that people may exit the facilities within seven minutes from the completion of the event.  

Now

Up until 2018, it was the home of Daegu FC and the team's final match there was the FA Cup Final second leg where the Sky Blues defeated Ulsan Hyundai. 

More pictures: here

Gwangju World Cup Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

Two group stage games took place at Gwangju World Cup Stadium, Spain 3-1 Slovenia in Group B and China 0-2 Costa Rica in Group C. It was also the venue where South Korea beat Spain on penalties to earn a place in the semifinals. Current K League managers Hong Myung-bo, Kim Nam-il, Seol Ki-hyeon were all in the starting lineup that afternoon, facing the likes of Fernando Morientes, Carles Puyol, and Iker Casillas. 

Group B – Spain 3-1 Slovenia
Group C – China 0-2 Costa Rica
Quarter-final – Spain 0-0 Korea Republic

Design & Construction

Opened: 9th January 2002
Cost: $125 million
Capacity: 42,880

Gwangju World Cup Stadium is another which has a running track. But, designed to reflect the notion of "spreading far and wide" the exterior is shaped like the spokes of a wheel. The ceiling and large ‘Y’-shaped pillars resemble a ‘Go,’ an instrument used in a traditional game from Gwangju, "Gossaumnori." These architectural features were designed to capture and reflect the traditional aspects of the city of Gwangju.

Now

Sadly, Gwangju World Cup Stadium, which was given the nickname Guus Hiddink Stadium, in honour of the head coach who guided Korea to the semifinals, is no longer used. It was the home of Gwangju Sangmu from 2002 until 2010 before the army team moved to Sangju for the next 10 years. But then in 2011, the citizen club Gwangju FC were founded and the stadium became the home venue for the Griffins until the club eventually moved next door to a football-specific stadium. And with no Gwangju B team or K3 or K4 team to use the ground, Gwangju World Cup Stadium has ended up like the Incheon Munhak Stadium - completely abandoned.

More pictures: here

Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

The Munsu played host to two group stage games, the first being Denmark's 2-1 win over Uruguay in Group A before Brazil eased past Turkey 2-1 in Group C. It was also the stadium where Germany beat the USA 1-0 to advance to the semis against South Korea. 

Group A – Uruguay 1-2 Denmark
Group C – Brazil 2-1 Turkey
Quarter-final – Germany 1-0 USA

Design & Construction

Opened: 28th April 2001
Cost: $119 million
Capacity: 43,550

The Munsu Stadium contains both mechanical and environment-friendly imagery. The exterior design is supposed to look like a crane, which represents the bird of Ulsan. The skull shape of the stadium symbolizes the Silla Dynasty and Bangudae Petroglyphs, Korea's National Treasure No. 285. 

Now

The Munsu has been home to Ulsan Hyundai ever since the 2002 World Cup. Ulsan lifted the 2012 AFC Champions League at the Munsu in a one-leg final against Al-Ahli. 

More pictures: here

Suwon World Cup Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

Suwon World Cup Stadium hosted four matches in total, one of the few stadiums in Korea that did so during the 2002 World Cup. Three were group stage games, including the USA's 3-2 win over Portugal in Korea's group, as well as two other high-scoring affairs - Senegal 3-3 Uruguay and Costa Rica 2-5 Brazil. The Round of 16 clash between Spain and the Republic of Ireland was also played in Suwon which was won by Spain, setting up the quarter-final clash with Korea. 

Group D – USA 3-2 Portugal
Group A – Senegal 3-3 Uruguay
Group C – Costa Rica 2-5 Brazil
Round of 16 – Spain 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Design & Construction

Opened: 13th May 2001
Cost: $250 million
Capacity: 43,188

Its nickname is "Big Bird" due to the wing-like structure above the main stand which was a design feature. It is said that the shape is taken inspiration from a bird in flight while the stadium's seats were designed with Hwaseong Fortress in mind.

Now

It has been the home to Suwon Samsung Bluewings since the World Cup and was also the venue for the 2017 U20 World Cup and hosted the final where England beat Venezuela. The national team also uses Big Bird for some friendly matches.

More pictures: here

FNR

Jeju World Cup Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

Jeju World Cup Stadium, located in the city of Seogwipo on the south of the island of Jeju, had two group stage matches and one knockout. In Group C, Brazil put four past China with goals from Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, and Ronaldo. Paraguay beat Slovenia 3-1 in Jeonju while an Oliver Neuville goal sent Germany through against Paraguay in the Round of 16. 

Group C – Brazil 4-0 China PR
Group B – Slovenia 1-3 Paraguay
Round of 16 – Germany 1-0 Paraguay

Design & Construction

Opened: 9th December 2001
Cost: $120 million
Capacity: 42,256

The stadium’s shape is modelled after "orum”, the regional name for volcanic mounds and craters, while the fabric canopy roof resembles the sail of local fishing vessels. It was built 14 metres into the ground to provide cover from the strong winds on the island of Jeju. The stadium could initially hold 42,000 spectators, but this was reduced by7,000 after the tournament following the removal of temporary seating. In 2013, following an extensive renovation, capacity was further reduced with another 6,000 seats. Situated on a gentle slope close to the South China Sea, the 40,000-seat stadium also employs a low structural profile to avoid marring the landscape or obstructing natural views of nearby mountains and islands. The stadium opened in 2001.

Now

The stadium is now the home to Jeju United and has been since 2006 when Bucheon SK moved from the mainland to the island and were rebranded. The stadium was the venue for 2002 and 2013 Korean FA Cup finals.

External pictures: here

Jeonju World Cup Stadium

2002 World Cup Matches

Jeonju World Cup Stadium didn't host any of South Korea's games but it saw its fair share of goals, 10 in total. Portugal scored four of them in the Group D win over Poland, current Korean national team boss Paulo Bento played in that one. Spain beat Paraguay 3-1 in Group B and the USA overcame Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16. 

Group B – Spain 3-1 Paraguay
Group D – Portugal 4-0 Poland
Round of 16 – Mexico 0-2 USA

Design & Construction

Opened: 8th November 2001
Cost: $107 million
Capacity: 42,391

Jeonju World Cup Stadium was, apparently, built with tradition in mind as its roof and stands are designed with an image of the Korean traditional fan hapjukseon in mind, the pillars in sotdae (a tall wooden pole or stone pillar with a carved bird on its top) and 12 are to represent the strings of the Korean traditional instrument, the gayageum.

Now

Jeonju World Cup Stadium is, of course, the home of perennial K League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Jeonju is the capital city of North Jeolla Province, or Jeonbuk for short ("buk" meaning "north" in Korean). Jeonbuk's original home was Jeonju Civic Stadium having been founded in 1994 but all of their trophies have been won while playing at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. The stadium is also known as "Jeonju Castle".

More pictures: here

Daejeon World Cup Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

Daejeon World Cup Stadium was the venue for a specific game which is still talked about to this day - Korea's Round of 16 win over Italy. It was one of three matches to be played during the World Cup, the others being Spain's 3-2 win over South Africa in Group B and Poland's 3-1 defeat of the USA in Korea's group, Group D.

Group B – South Africa 2-3 Spain
Group D – Poland 3-1 USA
Round of 16 – Korea Republic 2-1 Italy

Design & Construction

Opened: 13th September 2001
Cost: $116 million
Capacity: 40,407

Daejeon World Cup Stadium has a partially retractable roof, the first for a Korean football stadium. The original plan was to have a half-dome for the two stands behind the goals but a lack of budget meant this had to be scrapped. Its design according to its architects, incorporates images of a traditional Korean farmhouse

Now

Now referred to as "Purple Arena", Daejeon World Cup Stadium is the home of Daejeon Hana Citizen. It also hosted some matches in the 2017 U20 World Cup.

More pictures: here

Incheon Munhak Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

The Munhak hosted three matches, all of which were in the group stage. Costa Rica drew 1-1 with Turkey in Group C and Denmark beat France 2-0 in Group A. It was also where Korea beat Portugal 10 in the Taeguk Warriors' final group stage game. Current Korea boss Paulo Bento was in the Portugal lineup on that occasion.

Group C – Costa Rica 1-1 Turkey
Group A – Denmark 2-0 France
Group D – Portugal 0-1 Korea Republic

Design & Construction

Opened: 25th February 2002
Cost: $101 million
Capacity: 52,179

It was built on the same site where Incheon Civic Stadium used to be and the roof is the world's largest membrane structure supported by 24 pillars. The roof structure combines several structural principles to achieve the desired shape, reminiscent of the large sailing ships anchored in this large harbour city. 

Now

Incheon Munhak Stadium hasn't been used regularly since 2012 when Incheon United moved to their purpose-built Incheon Football Stadium. But after the 2002 World Cup, the Munhak also hosted the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships as well as the football matches during the 2014 Asian Games, 10 in total, including the final where South Korea beat North Korea with a 120th-minute Rim Chang-woo winner. The venue also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Asian Para Games.


Busan Asiad Main Stadium



2002 World Cup Matches

South Korea beat Poland 2-0 in Busan in one of three matches to be held at the stadium. Hwang Sun-hong in the 26th minute and the late, great Yoo Sang-chul in the 53rd gave Korea the win. The other two games ended in draws, Paraguay 2-2 South Africa in Group B and France 0-0 Uruguay in Group A. It was actually built for the 2002 Asian Games, hence the running track, but was later used for the World Cup too, hence the "Asiad" part of the name.

Group B – Paraguay 2-2 South Africa
Group D – Korea Republic 2-0 Poland
Group A – France 0-0 Uruguay

Design & Construction

Opened: September 2001
Cost: $180 million
Capacity: 55,982

The shape of the roof which is supposed to have the appearance of overflowing waves represents the city itself as one that is close to the ocean. The architectural structure is designed to flow with the image of the international marine city, Busan, focusing on curved, delicate lines throughout rather than straight lines in order to reflect the ocean's rolling waves It has 48 pillars and 72 entrances to create openness to breathe. Described as “futuristic in design” and “like an alien craft”

Now

The Asiad is the on-and-off-again home of Busan IPark having played there from 2003 to 2015 before shifting to the Gudeok Stadium, then returning for the 2022 season. Busan Asiad Main Stadium also hosted the 2010 FA Cup Final as Busan IPark lost 1-0 to Suwon Bluewings. 


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