South Korea is the only team outside of South America and Europe to reach the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup. However, it was back in 2002, and ever since the team has been pursuing to achieve the same feat and even beyond.
It’s the tenth straight world cup participation for the Taegeuk Warriors and they certainly have been the consistent team from Asia in the FIFA franchise.
In every major international tournament, South Korea has come across as one of the best sides to hail from Asia. While in the past, they hardly had superstars in their team, in the last few big competitions, the numbers are increasing. Heung Min-Son has been synonymous with the national team identity for some years.
And this time some other players too have seemingly reached his quality and have certainly increased the overall squad strength of South Korea. So what does the team picture looks like for the Asian Tigers heading into Qatar 2022?
The Players Who Are In The Official 26-Man Squad Of South Korea For The FIFA World Cup 2022
|Goalkeeper||Jo Hyeon-woo||Ulsan Hyundai|
|Goalkeeper||Song Bum-keun||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
|Defender||Kim Jin-su||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
|Defender||Hong Chul||Daegu FC|
|Defender||Kim Moon-hwan||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
|Defender||Kim Young-gwon||Ulsan Hyundai|
|Defender||Kwon Kyung-won||Gamba Osaka|
|Defender||Kim Tae-hwan||Ulsan Hyundai|
|Defender||Cho Yu-min||Daejon Hana Citizen|
|Defender||Yoon Jong-gyu||FC Seoul|
|Midfielder||Paik Seung-ho||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
|Midfielder||Son Jun-ho||Shandong Taishan|
|Midfielder||Song Min-kyu||Jeonbuk Hyundai|
|Midfielder||Kwon Chang-hoon||Gimcheon Sangmu|
|Forward||Cho Gue-sung||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors|
|Forward||Son Heung-min||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Forward||Hwang Hee-Chan||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
South Korea Group Table
South Korea has Cristiano-led Portugal and Uruguay, a heavyweight from South America lining up in Group H. The other opponent for them will be the African top dog Ghana.
|Thurs, Nov. 24||Uruguay vs. South Korea||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Mon, Nov. 28||South Korea vs. Ghana||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Fri, Dec. 2||South Korea vs. Portugal||10 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
South Korea Strengths
Throughout the Asian qualifiers phase, no team conceded fewer goals than South Korea, three in ten matches.
Their current manager Paulo Bento has a 63.5 winning percentage since the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
South Korea has an unmissable attacking strength in Son Heung-min who last season was a joint top scorer in EPL and has been terrorizing the top opponents’ boxes for some years.
In the mid, they have this year’s Serie A player of the month (September), Kim Min-Jae. His relentless work to track back the ball from the opponents and physicality has given South Korea more options to establish stability in their overall gameplay as well as in transition.
South Korea as a whole has also been increasing its potential to penetrate teams in transition with every international duel.
South Korea Weaknesses
Recent international fixtures where they drew against Costa Rica and a narrow win against Cameroon might have dampened their confidence which they definitely are going to need in the big tournament ahead especially when the team is going head to head with bigshots outside their continent. Also in a friendly match against Brazil this summer, the team suffered a heavy defeat against Brazil by 5-1 which has once again questioned their competency against strong teams.
Son while still in the squad is doubtful because of a recently fractured eye socket he suffered in the Champions League. His national side has also been too dependent on him lately. But the biggest concern for South Korea will be that the team doesn’t have perfect partners to give its current quality defender, Kim. When it’s only him, the Asian Tiger’s backline hardly looks competitive in the league of polished forwards.
South Korea Expectations
The Korea Republic must have set its aim to get past the group stage of the World Cup 2022.
South Korea only lost one game in the qualifying campaign and finished behind Iran in their AFC group.
Being sided against Portugal and Uruguay hasn’t helped much in South Korea’s probability to stay longer in Qatar. Ghana likewise may be the last team they were hoping to have in their group after knowing that they have the two aforesaid names.
They were able to pull one upset in 2018 when they defeated the then-defending champion Germany by 2-0 in the group stage. Including that other past wins against some title contenders from Europe, South Korea does have the potential to show nerve even against the favorites.
South Korea’s existing manager Bento failed to qualify Portugal in 2014 when the team was in a group with a magnitude of similar strength to the present pool.
Getting past the knockouts will no doubt require extremely organized efforts from South Korea however securing four points against the likes of their group opponents will be a task this team has arguably never faced in any sort of international tournament.
A win against Ghana is a must times infinity and if that doesn’t happen then this tournament too won’t be bringing any new things to them.