ST. PETERSBURG, June 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will likely get extra motivation to beat Mexico at the 2018 FIFA World Cup when the country's president attends the match in the southern Russian city later this week, a national football team official said Thursday.
Choi Young-il, a Korea Football Association (KFA) Vice President and head of the national team delegation, said South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don to watch a Group F match between South Korea and Mexico on Saturday.
"To support the national team players, Moon will wear a red shirt," Choi said. "Regardless of the match result, Moon will meet with the national team players and have a pep talk with them."
Moon will be accompanied by sports minister Do Jong-whan and South Korean Ambassador to Russia Woo Yoon-keun. He will fly to Rostov-on-Don after having a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday during his three-day state visit.
"We're preparing a red shirt without a jersey number but printed with a slogan," he said. "Other guests will also wear red shirts."
South Korea donned white shirts and shorts in their Group F opener against Sweden in Nizhny Novgorod, where they suffered a 1-0 loss on Monday. In Rostov-on-Don, however, the national team players will wear red shirts with black shorts.
South Korea are looking to get a win against Mexico to stay alive for knockout spot contention in the group following their opening match loss. Mexico, meanwhile, beat defending champions Germany 1-0, and has positioned themselves well for the round of 16.
Moon will be the first president since the late Kim Dae-jung to watch a World Cup match. Kim, who was South Korea's president from 1998 to 2003, attended four matches at the 2002 World Cup, which was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.
Kim, who passed away in 2009, then watched South Korea's 2-0 win over Poland in their group opener in Busan, and the national team's final group stage match against Portugal in Incheon, where they won 1-0. He also attended South Korea's quarterfinal match against Spain in Gwangju, where the hosts went on to advance to the last four on penalties, and the semifinal match that the home side lost 1-0 to Germany in Seoul.
Moon will be the first South Korean president to attend a national team match in a foreign country. The last time a South Korean president watched an international football match was in 2003, when the late Roh Moo-hyun attended a friendly match between South Korea and Japan in Seoul.