User Menu

South Korea - Team Profile

South Korea first qualified for the World Cup finals in 1954, one of eight times they’ve made it

The South Korean team that faced Tunisia in a friendly at Seoul World Cup stadium last month. . Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/ Reuters

Manager: Hong Myung-bo

Best finish: Fourth (2002)

World Cup record: Played 31, Won 5, Drawn 9, Lost 17


South Korea first qualified for the World Cup finals in 1954, one of eight times they’ve made it to the tournament, but their most joyous experience came in 2002 when they co-hosted the finals with Japan, and reached the semi-finals. They topped their group after wins over Poland and Portugal, and a draw with United States, beating Giovanni Trapattoni’s Italy and Spain in the knockout phase, with a refereeing controversy or two along the way, before succumbing to the powers of Germany in the semi-finals.


A shaky qualifying campaign prompted Choi Kang-hee to resign, Hong Myung-bo, captain of their 2002 World Cup team, replacing him. He set about rebuilding the side, the core of which is made up of four Bundesliga players and five who play their football in England. The manager generally opts for a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Son Heung Min the playmaker.

All Star - Son Heung Min

It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing since he joined Bayer Leverkusen for €10m from Hamburg last year, although his winner against Werder Bremen to seal a place in the Champions League qualifiers next season repaid a chunk of the fee. Plays just behind the front man, the team’s chief creative force.

County Colours - Sligo

Capable of a shock or two, even a decent run, but not this year.

Pundit’s Corner Jamie Carragher: “Eeeeeeehhhhhh . . . ”


It’s their eighth World Cup in a row, so they should be getting the hang of it, but, in Group H with Belgium, Russia and Algeria, a return to the dizzy days of 2002 seems unlikely. Only Australia have a lower ranking, but a friendly victory over the Swiss, ranked seventh, suggests they’re capable of an upset if taken lightly.


Goalkeepers: 1 Jung Sungryong (Suwon Bluewings), 21 Kim Seunggyu (Ulsan Hyundai), 23 Lee Bumyoung (Busan IPark).

Defenders: 2 Kim Changsoo (Kashiwa Reysol, Jpn), 3 Yun Sukyoung (Queens Park Rangers, Eng), 4 Kwak Taehwi (Al Hilal, Sau), 5 Kim Younggwon (Guangzhou Evergrande, Chn), 6 Hwang Seoho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Jpn), 12 Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai), 20 Hong Jeongho (Augsburg, Ger), 22 Park Joo-ho (Mainz, Ger).

Midfielders: 7 Kim Bokyung (Cardiff City, Wal), 8 Ha Daesung (Beijing Guoan/Chn), 9 Son Heungmin (Bayer Leverkusen, Ger), 14 Han Kookyoung (Kashiwa Reysol, Jpn), 15 Park Jongwoo (Guangzhou R&F, Chn), 16 Ki Sungyueng (Sunderland/Eng), 17 Lee Chungyong (Bolton Wanderers/Eng),19 Ji Dongwon (Augsburg/Ger).

Forwards: 10 Park Chuyoung (Watford, Eng), 11 Lee Keunho (Sangju Sangmu), 13 Koo Jacheol (Mainz/Ger), 18 Kim Shinwook (Ulsan Hyundai).


SOUTH KOREA (v Russia): 1 Jung Sungryong; 12 Lee Yong, 20 Hong Jeongho (6 Hwang Seoho, 73 mins), 5 Kim Younggwon, 3 Yun Sukyoung; 14 Han Kookyoung, 16 Ki Sungyueng (yc); 17 Lee Chungyong, 13 Koo Jacheol (yc), 9 Son Heungmin (yc) (7 Kim Bokyung, 84 mins); 10 Park Chuyoung (11 Lee Keunho, 56 mins).

SOUTH KOREA (v Algeria): 1 Jung Sungryong; 12 Lee Yong (yc), 20 Hong Jeongho, 5 Kim Younggwon, 3 Yun Sukyoung; 14 Han Kookyoung (yc) (19 Ji Dongwon, 78 mins), 16 Ki Sungyueng; 17 Lee Chungyong (11 Lee Keunho, 64 mins), 13 Koo Jacheol, 9 Son Heungmin; 10 Park Chuyoung (18 Kim Shinwook, 57 mins).

SOUTH KOREA (v Belgium): 21 Kim Seunggyu; 12 Lee Yong, 5 Kim Younggwon, 20 Hong Jeongho (yc),  3 Yun Sukyoung; 14 Han Kookyoung (11 Lee Keunho, half-time), 16 Ki Sungyueng; 17 Lee Chungyong, 9 Son Heungmin (19 Ji Dongwon, 73 mins); 13 Koo Jacheol, 18 Kim Shinwook (7 Kim Bokyung, 66 mins).