South Korea’s national soccer team, which will play two A matches in Europe in September, will travel to Newcastle, England, the “decisive stage,” on a chartered flight provided by Saudi Arabia, its opponent in the second match.
An official from the Korea Football Association said on Tuesday, “The national team will leave for Newcastle on a chartered flight from London, England, at noon local time on the 11th.” “The chartered flight is provided by Saudi Arabia, who wanted to play the match in Newcastle,” the official said.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s side played to a goalless draw against Wales at Cardiff City Stadium in Wales on Sept. 8 in the first of two September A matches.
The team traveled to London immediately after the match to train at Brentford FC’s training center in preparation for the Saudi game.
The Klinsmanns will face the Saudis at 1:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 14 at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England.
The distance from London to Newcastle is nearly 450 kilometers, making the team’s long travel route from Cardiff to London to Newcastle a head-scratcher.
This has led some to suspect that Klinsmann may have deliberately scheduled the London training schedule in order to play in the legendary match between Chelsea and Bayern Munich scheduled for Sept. 9 in London.
The complicated schedule for the two European trips in September stems from the cancellation of the initially scheduled trials in Mexico and London.
The Football Association negotiated with Wales and Mexico for the September A matches.
It first agreed to the schedule with Wales in May and finalized it with Mexico in June. Mexican media outlets had previously reported that the team would play Saudi Arabia and South Korea in September.
However, Mexico canceled the trial against South Korea in July. The reason given was that the game’s time slot didn’t fit with the country’s TV broadcast schedule and would result in low viewership.
As part of the negotiations for the Mexico trial, the Fifa agreed to play the game in London and had already reached an agreement with Brentford to use their training center and stadium.
In the meantime, Mexico suddenly canceled the trial, and the FA rescheduled the trial with Saudi Arabia, which was scheduled to play Mexico.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation wanted to play the trial at St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle. Newcastle was purchased in October 2021 by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF).
“The Saudi Football Federation decided to move the match to Newcastle and provided the Korean national team’s accommodation in London and Newcastle, as well as a chartered flight,” said an official from the KFA.
“We also made a preliminary visit to Newcastle,” he said, adding, “A large-scale marathon (2023 Great North Run) is scheduled in Newcastle on the 10th of this month, so we were expecting major difficulties with the team’s accommodation and transportation.”
As a result, the FA decided it would be better to continue using the training ground originally agreed with Brentford and then travel to Newcastle on a Saudi chartered flight, and the team has been cooling off in London since the Wales game. 스포츠토토