Hours before kick-off and braving persistent drizzle, thousands of supporters began gathering outside City Hall in Seoul Saturday to cheer on Korea Republic, who take on Greece in the FIFA World Cup™.

Police say 1.8 million football-mad Koreans are expected to gather on streets across the country in front of large outdoor screens set up in public squares, stadiums and key city locations.

Wearing red T-shirts, the "Red Devils" began taking seats in front of a giant screen outside Seoul's City Hall, chanting slogans and blaring horns in eager anticipation of the Group B opener in South Africa.

"I came here well before the kick-off in order to take a seat near the screen. I hope Korea Republic will win as we are cheering for them even in rain," a said 29-year-old woman, Kim Ji-Young.

With kick-off at 8.30 pm Korea Republic time, supporters also formed a long queue at the entrance of the Seoul FIFA World Cup Stadium, where some 70,000 supporters are expected to scream on their team.

Korea Republic prisons will relax their strict curfew to allow inmates to watch FIFA World Cup matches on live television, prison authorities announced yesterday. Domestic league clubs will open their stadiums to let fans watch matches on big screens, while multiplex cinemas will broadcast South Korean matches live in 3D.

Transport services will also run late to allow fans to get home during the FIFA World Cup period.