Korea's World Cup qualifier against Thailand has sold out. Captured from KFA's homepage

In an unexpected display of support, the World Cup qualifier pitting Korea against Thailand has sold out, defying calls for a boycott amid recent controversies surrounding the Korean Football Association (KFA).

This strong fan response marks a significant moment for Korean football, highlighting a deep-rooted passion for the game that overshadows the current dissatisfaction with the KFA.

“Thanks to the support of soccer fans, all seats for the match against Thailand have sold out, excluding wheelchair accessible and Sky Pub seats,” a KFA official said.

Sales commenced on March 11 for Red and Black grade members, with general ticket sales opening on March 13 at 7 p.m. and achieving a complete sell-out by 9 p.m. Only cancellations will now open up any future ticket opportunities.

The massive ticket sell-out came days after some football fans launched an online campaign calling for a boycott of the match in response to the KFA’s decision to include Lee Kang-in from Paris Saint-Germain in the national team, reigniting a debate over team dynamics following a recent scuffle between him and team captain Son Heung-min.

This issue, combined with the national team’s disappointing performance at the 2023 Qatar Asian Cup and ensuing managerial upheavals, spurred an online 안전 campaign urging fans to skip the upcoming matches. Yet, the call to action seemed to have had the opposite effect, with tickets for the March 21 home game in Seoul and the March 26 match in Bangkok being snapped up quickly by eager fans.

Lee Kang-in will join the team after fulfilling his club commitments. He is expected to arrive by March 19. The third game against Thailand is set for March 21 at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium, with the team set to travel the next day for their away fixture. The fourth qualifier will be hosted at Thailand’s Rajamangala Stadium on March 26.

The national squad is scheduled to begin preparations at Goyang Stadium in Gyeonggi Province at 4 p.m., March 18.

Korea tops Group C after securing victories against Singapore and China with scores of 5-0 and 3-0, respectively, placing them ahead of second-placed Thailand, who have one win and one loss. The teams in Group C will face each other in a home-and-away series, with the top two teams advancing to the next qualifying round.

As Korea prepares to face Thailand, the KFA finds itself at a critical crossroads, tasked with addressing the concerns of fans and stakeholders to rebuild trust and guide the future of Korean football.

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