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South Korea National Football Team

You may not hear about it so much in Europe, but the South Korean football team is a side feared throughout Asia. Regularly qualifying for the World Cup, the team initially struggled to make an impact at the tournament before making themselves an unforgettable name when they reached the tournament’s semi-finals at the 2002 edition, which they co-hosted with Japan.

2022 Qatar World Cup Round of 16

South Korea National Football made it to the Round of 16! CXSports brings you Brazil vs South Korea. Place your Bets

Want to see how The South Korea National Football Team will do in the Qatar 2022 World Cup? Click the links below to bet on your favourite World Cup matches!

Thursday November 24Uruguay vs South Korea (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).

Monday November 28South Korea vs Ghana (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).

Friday, December 2South Korea vs Portugal (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 4pm).

 

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Team History

South Korea National Football Begginings

As is so often the case, it is widely believed that South Korea National Football was introduced through Englishmen. The story goes that Royal Navy sailors in the 1880s regularly took up the sport when on land until the locals started to get involved, at which point its spread became inevitable.

Colonial Games

At the beginning of the 20th century, Korea was a Japanese colony, so Korean teams and the side representing the country primarily played against the Japanese. However, at times, Korean players also represented Japan’s official side, which went on to be a contributing factor to the rivalry between the two teams.

Post-war Years

After gaining independence, South Korea National Football didn’t take long to get a proper structure, and in 1958 the brand-new Korea Football Association joined FIFA. They got straight into international fixtures and won their first-ever match 5-3 against Mexico at the 1948 London Olympics.

Continental Dominance

World Cup qualification initially came easily to the South Korea National Football team, which had little competition on a continental level. In 1954, they became the first-ever independent Asian side to play at the tournament. However, the team was quickly proven to be out of its depth, losing its two matches, 9-0 and 7-0.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. Only two years later, the team got its hands on its first piece of significant silverware when it won the inaugural AFC Asian Cup. When they hosted the tournament for its next edition four years later, they again took the trophy home.

Famously, the Korean Football Association gave the players fake medals and only rectified the mistake in 2019. According to suspicious football fans in South Korea, this foul play has been a primary factor of the bad luck that has prevented the side from winning the tournament ever since.

The Golden Years

Throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, South Korea National Football took home several medals from the Asian Games football, and as the new millennium grew closer, things began to look even more optimistic as the side qualified for the 1998 World Cup. The team again was outclassed on the global stage, though.

Shattering Expectations

The side broke through to a new level in 2002 when, against all odds, they reached the World Cup semifinals, making them the only team outside of Europe and the Americas to ever do so. The country hadn’t ever won a game at the World Cup, so to say they were dark horses would be an understatement.

That journey would go on to inspire interest in the sport in South Korea, but the team understandably has failed to reach those heights since. However, going into the 2022 World Cup, the side is led by its best-ever player, Son Heung-min, and so fans will be hoping for more success.

South Korea National Football Team Trivia

  • Oddly enough, South Korea’s support base has the same nickname as England’s Manchester United. The Red Devils have one strong connection in Ji Sung Park, who represented both sides in the late 2000s.
  • South Korea’s rivalry with Australia is Asia’s most followed international football rivalry. The two teams have been evenly matched throughout history, and the two faced one another at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final, which Australia won.

Soccer South Korea Leagues