Reports & Previews

Republic of Korea - World Cup team preview

South Korea last reached the knockout stages of a World Cup in 2002 on home soil and face a tough task to emerge from a difficult Group F in Russia containing Germany, Mexico and Sweden.

Head coach Shin Tae-yong, who has been dubbed the Asian Mourinho, was only named coach of Korea in June 2017 following Uli Stielike's sacking.

During his playing days, the 49-year-old Shin won 23 caps for Korea, scoring three goals. He also managed the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides.

He was tasked with securing the nation's qualification process, which he secured with two goalless draws against Iran and Uzbekistan - to finish second behind Iran in AFC qualification.

A group stage World Cup finish in 2006 in Germany was followed by an appearance in the last 16 at South Africa 2010, where Korea lost to eventual semi-finalists Uruguay, while in Brazil they ended bottom of Group H behind Belgium, Algeria and Russia.

To the uninitiated, the Taegeuk Warriors are an unknown quantity, with only 10 of the 23-man squad playing their football outside of the country. Five players are based in Japan, with one based in China.

The nation's most well known star by a long way is Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min. He is joined by Swansea City's Ki Sung-yueng, who will captain the side. Other overseas-based players include Hellas Verona's Lee Seung-woo, Augsburg Koo Ja-cheol, and Hwang Hee-chan who plays for Austria's Red Bull Salzburg, although big things are expected of 25-year-old Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Lee Jae-sung.

Injuries to winger Lee Chung-yong and defensive midfielder Kwon Kyung-won was, who have since been left at home, could be a significant blow to the Koreans, who have been ever-presents at the finals since 1986, with their first appearance in 1954, making this their 10th World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC).

Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).

Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United).

Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg).