With the FIFA World Cup 2018 knocking at the door, we continue focussing on the participating internationals in our “Team Talk” series. Today, we will throw some lights on the last participant from the group F, South Korea.
Team: SOUTH KOREA
Coach: Shin Tae-yong
Captain: Ki Sung-yueng
Nickname(s): Taegeuk Jeonsa
Last Qualified in: 2014
Result in 2014: Eliminated in the group stage
Qualified as: AFC group A runners-up
Previous World Cup Appearances: (9 Times) 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Fourth place in FIFA World Cup 2002.
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu, Kim Jin-hyeon, Cho Hyun-woo.
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon, Jang Hyun-soo, Jung Seung-hyun, Yun Yong-sun, Oh Ban-suk, Kim Min-woo, Park Joo-ho, Hong Chul, Go Yo-han, Lee Yong.
Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng, Jung Woo-young, Ju Se-jong, Koo Ja-cheol, Lee Jae-sung, Lee Seung-woo, Moon Seon-min.
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook, Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan.
1. Son Heung-min: The 25-year-old Tottenham forward is certainly the key man for his country. The player has had a wonderful season for his club as he scored 20 goals in all competition for the Premier League side from London. Apart from that, he has 21 international goals representing his country in his 66 appearances.
2. Ki Sung-yueng: The 29-year-old Swansea City player is another experienced veteran in the South Korea midfield. The skipper of the team, Ki acts as the midfield general. Reportedly, the player does have a huge experience of playing a total of 166 games and scoring 15 goals for the Premier League sides Swansea City and Sunderland (Loan), since 2012. Apart from that, he also has 101 international caps bagging 10 goals.
The Asian side have been undergoing some mixed results, as they have won five games in their last eleven international games and lost three of them. South Korea have qualified as the runners-up just behind Iran from the AFC group A qualifiers. But they really had to fight hard to avoid playing the fourth round play-off against Australia.
South Korea are in Group F along with Germany, Mexico, and Sweden. They will flag off their campaign against Sweden in their opening fixture on 18th of June 2018 followed by Mexico and Germany on 23rd and 27th June respectively.
South Korea are definitely the underdogs in their group as it contains the heavyweights like Germany and Mexico. Another competitor Sweden can also make some impact in their group. But the Asian giants are fully dependent on both the Premier League players. So, they surely have to wait for some upsets and miracles to proceed through to the next round of the tournament.
South Korea are the only Asian team to feature at their 10th World Cup. Reportedly, no other team from Asia have participated this much times in this tournament.
Photo by Henrykim.kr