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World Cup: South Korea team profile

South Korea are looking to be the poster boys for Asian football heading into the World Cup as they attempt to try and make it out of the group stages for the first time since 2010.

This is their tenth consecutive World Cup finals appearance and in seven of the last nine tournaments they have been knocked out prior to the last 16 stage.

However, they have one bona fide world-class operator in their line-up in the form of Heung-min Son and they will hope the Spurs man can help spearhead them towards a successful tournament.

South Korea do find themselves in a tough-looking group and they are 11/1 to advance through Group H as the winners, with Portugal, Uruguay, and Ghana for company.

What:World Cup
Where:Qatar
When:20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watch:All matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
Odds:Brazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Spain 8/1, Argentina 7/1

What is South Korea's World Cup record?

Previously, South Korea have featured in ten World Cup tournaments to date, with their debut coming in 1954 when the finals were hosted by Switzerland.

They have exited the group stage in eight of ten attempts, with their best run by far coming when they co-hosted with Japan in 2002.

South Korea managed to get all the way to the semi-finals, beating Italy with a golden goal from Ahn Jung-Hwan in the 117th minute before going on to knock Spain out in a penalty shootout.

Germany ultimately halted a fairytale run with a 1-0 victory in the semi-final, but South Korea as a footballing nation was certainly put on the world map in 2002.

Their only other knockout appearance came in 2010, when they were beaten by Uruguay 2-1 thanks to a Luis Suarez brace.

PositionYear
Fourth place2002
Last-162010
Group stage

1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018

How did South Korea qualify?

Qualification was relatively straightforward for a team who are used to getting to the World Cup. In the second qualifying round they won five from six games, sealing their place in the final stage which comprised of two groups of six.

From there, they won seven, drew two, and lost one of 10 games, finishing 11 points clear of Australia, with Iran topping the table - two teams in each group automatically advanced through to the World Cup outright.

Who is in South Korea's group?

Euro 2016 winners Portugal headline Group H, with Uruguay and Ghana completing the line-up.

South Korea's first match comes on Thursday 24th November against Uruguay and they can be backed to cause something of an upset and win at 15/4 with the draw priced at 5/2.

They then face Ghana on Monday 28th November in what is likely to be the most pivotal game, before Portugal are the opponents on Friday 2nd December.

Who is South Korea's manager?

The man currently in charge is Portuguese coach Paulo Bento, who will face up against his homeland during the group stage.

He has had a varied managerial career which started at Sporting Lisbon in 2005, where he spent four years.

Bento then managed his country between 2010 and 2014, leaving after a group-stage exit in Brazil was followed by a shock loss to Albania in Euro 2016 qualifying.

A short spell in Brazil with Cruzeiro followed, before he took charge of Olympiakos in Greece, leading them to a league title in 2017.

Another short spell came, this time in China with Chongqing Dangdai Lifan FC before he was appointed South Korea boss in August 2018, with the remit to take them to the World Cup and have a successful tournament.

Related World Cup Group H News

World Cup - Football: Group H preview

World Cup - Football: Ghana team profile

World Cup - Football: Portugal team profile

World Cup - Football: Uruguay team profile

Who is South Korea's star player?

Obvious, but Tottenham's Son is treated almost like a god in his homeland due to his exploits for Spurs.

South Korea have produced some fine players in the past, but none have managed to scale the heights in the same way as the 30-year-old forward, who seems to get better with each passing season.

Qatar will be the best opportunity for him to strut his stuff on the world stage, although he did score in both the 2014 and 2018 tournaments.

Who is South Korea's potential breakout star?

One to look out for will be attacking midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong who is currently plying his trade in the Bundesliga with Freiburg.

He began his career at Bayern Munich and, after failing to make the grade, the 23-year-old moved on to Freiburg, where he has been a first-team regular in the past couple of seasons.

Last season, he scored five goals in 32 games and also netted in a 2-2 friendly draw against Paraguay in June.

What is South Korea's predicted line-up and tactics?

South Korea predicted line-up (4-3-3): Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Jin-su; Kwon Chang-hoon, Paik Seung-ho, Hwang In-beom; Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Gue-sung, Son Heung-min.

South Korea play a versatile attacking formation which can switch from 4-3-3 when attacking to 4-5-1 in defence. Getting Son involved as often as possible will be the aim, but there is a strong midfield too, with Hwang In-beom providing the driving force.

On the bench, they can turn to Freiburg man Jeong, while there is also the option to use Hwang Ui-jo.

How far can South Korea go?

Looking at the group stage, South Korea do appear to be outsiders, with Portugal and Uruguay in particular possessing very strong recent tournament records.

Teams relying so heavily on one player can often fall short if opponents wise up and double mark them, so Son's performances are likely to be the key barometer to how well South Korea fare in Qatar and they are currently 9/4 to progress from Group H.

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