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FIFA World Cup finals history
Despite being Asia’s most frequent visitors to world football’s showpiece event, Korea Republic had never won a match at the finals until they co-hosted Korea/Japan 2002. They got off to a winning start with victory over Poland before defeating Portugal to reach the second round for the first time. The Taeguk Warriors went on to reach the semi-finals at the expense of Italy and Spain, only to lose to Germany in the last four. In 2010, they made history again by reaching the knockout stage for the first time on foreign soil, before going down at the hands of Uruguay in the Round of 16.
The key players
The squad’s make-up kept changing during the qualifying and under new coach Hong Myungbo, a new-look team has taken shape. A series of emerging stars, notably German-based Son Heungmin and Koo Jacheol, have graduated into the team’s backbone force. Bolton Wanderers’ Lee Chungyong is the new man wearing the captain’s armband and home-based Kim Shinwook and Lee Keunho are proven goal-scorers.
Current coach: Hong Myungbo
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 (Fourth place)
Former stars: Cha Bumkun, Hong Myungbo, Park Jisung