JEONJU -- South Korean football coach Shin Tae-yong said Wednesday staying in the same hotel with the team's group stage opponents ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup will not pose a big problem.
The U-20 World Cup kicks off Saturday and will run until June 11 in six local cities -- Cheonan, Daejeon, Incheon, Jeonju, Suwon and Jeju. The young Taeguk Warriors are in Group A with Guinea, Argentina and England at the 24-team tournament, and all four teams landed in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on Monday for their tournament openers.
South Korea's under-20 national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong enters an auxiliary field of Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, for a training session on May 16, 2017. (Yonhap)
South Korea will face Guinea at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Saturday, after England and Argentina play their first Group A contest at the same venue on the same day.
All Group A teams have been staying under the same roof since their arrival in Jeonju, although they live on different floors in the same building. England use the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel, while Argentine players stay on the sixth and seventh floors. Guinea reserved the eighth floor, and South Korea reside on the 10th floor.
There have been concerns that the players may run into each other and find themselves in potentially uncomfortable situations when they squeeze into an elevator, but Shin said there won't be any big problems.
"I don't think our players will feel uncomfortable with Group A teams staying in the same accommodation," he said. "Most players stay in their rooms during their stay, so I don't think they will create an awkward situation by encountering players from other teams."
The 21 South Korean players are each sharing a single two-bed room with a teammate. Defender Lee Yoo-hyun, however, has a room to himself because he is a sensitive sleeper, according to the Korea Football Association official.
The KFA said the players have chosen their own roommates, and all of them are familiar with sharing a room with one another.
The Guinea squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup arrive at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 16, 2017. (Yonhap)
FC Barcelona Juvenil A forward Lee Seung-woo is sharing a room with defender Kim Seung-woo, while FC Barcelona B midfielder Paik Seung-ho is paired up with goalkeeper Song Bum-keun.
Defender Jeong Tae-wook is with fellow center back Lee Sang-min, who saved his life when Jeong fell to the ground unconscious during a match against Zambia at the four-national invitational tournament in March. Lee dislodged Jeong's tongue from his airway before the medical staff's arrival and gave him artificial respiration so that the player could breathe again.
"We lived as roommates even before that incident, so it's comfortable," Lee said. "We talk to each other often to prepare for the tournament."
Meanwhile, the local organizing committee said 18 teams have arrived in South Korea so far. The organizers said all 24 teams will be present once Honduras and New Zealand make their arrivals Thursday. Under a rule, the participants must arrive in South Korea four days before their first match day. (Yonhap)