World Ranking: 47th
Notable World Cup History: Fourth place in the 2002 World Cup.
Huh Jung-Moo will be at the helm of the Reds this year. It will be his second stint as the national team’s manager, but only his first World Cup.
He is considered to be one of South Korea’s heroes because he was able to forge a successful career for himself in Europe during the early 1980s when Asian-born players were rarely given a chance to play west of the Pacific Ocean.
During his playing career, Huh was known for his tenacity, and energetic playing style. This is a trait that he has kept with him in his managerial style, putting an emphasis on defence, competitiveness, and hustle rather than elaborate set plays, and spectacular offence.
South Korea has three international stars that will lead the way for them in Park Ji-Sung, Park Chu-Young and Lee Chung-Yong.
The South Korean captain, Park Ji-Sung, scored three goals and recorded one assist in 17 appearances in his English Premier season with Manchester United. The midfielder’s strength lies in his versatility, and his incredible fitness and energy levels that has earned him the nickname “Three Lung Park.”
Park Chu-Young is the lesser know Park but will be South Korea’s biggest scoring threat. The forward had eight goals and three assists in 20 appearances with his club team AS Monaco. He has impressive speed, and agility but he has battled injuries this season so his effectiveness is still in doubt.
Lee is seen to as the future of South Korean soccer. The 21-year-old just finished his first season of English Premier League football in which the young midfielder tallied four goals and six assists in 30 appearances for the Bolton Wanderers. His best ability on the pitch is his passing and decision-making, two attributes that are best illustrated by his superb crosses.
South Korea’s main strength come from its hard-working attitude that the players embrace.
The Reds will never lose a match for a lack of effort. This willingness to never take a play off creates great team chemistry that is only bolstered by the inspirational play of captain Park Ji-Sung who sometimes seems like he could run two marathons and still be able, and willing, to run a third.
Even though defence is a focus, South Korea will still be pressed to defend set pieces mainly because European players will have a height advantage in the box against the South Korean goalkeepers and centre-backs.
South Korea will be hard pressed to advance to the knockout round because they are grouped with Argentina and Greece. Those two teams, talent and depth-wise, are better than South Korea. However, it wouldn’t be that far of a stretch to see South Korea tie Greece and maybe sneak into the round-of-16 due to goal differential.