Korea Republic
Nickname(s)태극전사 (Taegeuk Warriors)
아시아의 호랑이 (Tigers of Asia)
AssociationKorea Football Association (KFA)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationEAFF (East Asia)
Head coachPaulo Bento
CaptainSon Heung-min
Most capsCha Bum-kun
Hong Myung-bo (136)
Top scorerCha Bum-kun (58)
FIFA codeKOR
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 33 Steady (23 December 2021)[1]
Highest17 (December 1998)
Lowest69 (November 2014 – January 2015)
First international
 South Korea 5–3 Mexico 
(London, England; 2 August 1948)
Biggest win
 South Korea 16–0 Nepal   
(Incheon, South Korea; 29 September 2003)
Biggest defeat
 South Korea 0–12 Sweden 
(London, England; 5 August 1948)
World Cup
Appearances10 (first in 1954)
Best resultFourth place (2002)
Asian Cup
Appearances14 (first in 1956)
Best resultChampions (1956, 1960)
EAFF Championship
Appearances8 (first in 2003)
Best resultChampions (2003, 2008, 2015, 2017, 2019)
FIFA Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2001)
Best resultGroup stage (2001)
South Korea national football team
Hangul
대한민국 축구 국가대표팀
Hanja
大韓民國 蹴球 國家代表팀
Revised RomanizationDaehan Min'guk Chukgu Gukga Daepyo Tim
McCune–ReischauerTaehan Min'guk Ch'ukku Kukka Taep'yo T'im

The South Korea national football team (Korean: 대한민국 축구 국가대표팀; recognized as Korea Republic by FIFA) represents South Korea in men's international football and is governed by the Korea Football Association. South Korea has developed and emerged as a major football power in Asia since the 1980s and is historically the most successful Asian football team, having participated in nine consecutive and ten overall FIFA World Cup tournaments, the most for any Asian country. Despite initially going through five World Cup tournaments without winning a match, South Korea became the only Asian team to reach the semi-final stages when they co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan. South Korea also won two AFC Asian Cup titles, and finished as runners-up on four occasions. Furthermore, the team won three gold medals and three silver medals at the senior Asian Games.[3] The team is commonly nicknamed the "Reds" by both fans and the media due to the color of their primary kit. The national team's supporting group is officially referred to as the Red Devils.[4]

History

Main article: History of the South Korea national football team

Early history

Further information: Football in South Korea

Korea (Joseon) was not introduced to the sport of association football until the late 19th century; it is often said that football in Korea dates to 1882, when the Royal Navy sailors from HMS Flying Fish played a game while their vessel was visiting the Incheon Port.[5] Korea became a Japanese colony in 1905 and was annexed into it outright in 1910.

In 1921, the first All Joseon Football Tournament was held, and in 1928, the Joseon Football Association was organized, which created a foundation to disseminate and develop football in Korea.[6] Korean teams participated in competitions with Japanese teams from around 1926; Joseon Football Club became a de facto national team for Koreans, and won the 1935 Emperor's Cup.[5] Koreans also played for the Japanese national team, most notably Kim Yong-sik who played for Japan at the 1936 Summer Olympics.[7]

The Joseon FA was reorganized in 1945 as Japanese occupation ended with the end of World War II.[5][8] Following the establishment of the South Korean state in the late 1940s, a new Korea Football Association (KFA) was founded in 1948 and joined FIFA, the international football governing body. The same year, the South Korean national team made its international debut and won 5–3 against Mexico at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.[5]

First World Cup team (1954)

In 1954, South Korea entered FIFA World Cup qualification for the first time, and qualified for the 1954 FIFA World Cup by beating Japan 7–3 on aggregate.[9] South Korea were only the second Asian team to compete at a World Cup after the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and the first fully-independent Asian nation to do so. South Korea lost their only two games by heavy margins: 9–0 against Hungary (the joint-heaviest defeat in World Cup history) and 7–0 against Turkey. Their third scheduled game, against West Germany, was never played because neither were seeded in their group, as per that tournament's rules.[10] It would take thirty-two years before South Korea was able to participate at the World Cup finals again.

Despite this poor performance, South Korea successfully rallied by winning the inaugural AFC Asian Cup in 1956.[11] They hosted the next edition in 1960 and successfully retained the title, beating South Vietnam, Israel, and Republic of China in the process.[12] However, the South Korean players received fake medals, instead of the gold medals they had been promised, and returned them to the KFA.[13] The KFA promised to give them real medals, but this did not occur until 2019. South Korea have not won the AFC Asian Cup since 1960, something that has thus been attributed to the "curse of the fake gold medals."[14]

Foundation of Yangzee (1967)

Main article: Yangzee FC

In 1965, the South Korean government was hesitant to play football matches against North Korea and thus withdrew from the 1966 FIFA World Cup qualification to avoid possibly playing the northern neighbors. Kim Yong-sik, the KFA vice-president at that time, had evaluated North Korea as a world class team.[15] This would be proven true, as the North Koreans advanced to the quarter-finals at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. In March 1967, the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) founded Yangzee FC, collecting famous footballers in South Korea to train them intensively.[16] Yangzee players received benefits like exemption from military service, long-term overseas training and high salaries in return for intensive training.[16] At the 1968 Summer Olympics qualification, South Korea was eliminated by goal difference although their points were tied with Japan, the group winners.[17] They also participated in the 1969 Asian Club Championship, finishing as runners-up.[18] However, South Korea failed to qualify for the 1970 FIFA World Cup despite governmental support, and Yangzee was losing support as Kim Hyong-uk, the director of KCIA and supporter of the club, was dismissed from his post, and tensions between South and North Korea were beginning to subside.[16] Yangzee was eventually dissolved in March 1970 without ever having played against North Korea, but players achieved a good result by winning the 1970 Asian Games.[19]

Golden generation (1986)

In 1986, South Korea won the East Asian tournament of the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification including two victories against Japan in the final round, and was able to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1954. After one of the greatest forwards of German Bundesliga at that time, Cha Bum-kun,[22][23] joined the existing winning team, the South Korean squad for the 1986 FIFA World Cup was evaluated as the golden generation in their country.[24] South Korea lost 3–1 to the eventual champion Argentina but Park Chang-sun scored the first South Korean goal of the World Cup in the first group match. They drew 1–1 with Bulgaria and faced the defending champion Italy in the crucial last match. They conceded Alessandro Altobelli's opening goal, but Choi Soon-ho scored the equalizer outside the penalty area. However, Altobelli's second goal was followed by Cho Kwang-rae's fatal own goal, and South Korea lost 3–2 in the match although Huh Jung-moo pulled one back. Afterwards, South Korean newscasts and journalists criticized the referee David Socha, claiming that his judgements about situations of the game were poor including the decision to award a penalty to Italy.[25][26] South Korea redeemed their failure of World Cup success with a gold at the 1986 Asian Games.[27]

Tragedy of Marseille (1998)

In 1997, Cha Bum-kun became the head coach going into the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification. South Korea consecutively won four early qualifiers against Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, and quickly solidified their position as first place of the group. At the 1998 FIFA World Cup, they lost their first match against Mexico 3–1. Ha Seok-ju scored a deflected free kick for the opening goal, but was then sent off only three minutes after for an ill-advised tackle.[28] South Korea was then thoroughly outclassed by the Netherlands, managed by Guus Hiddink, losing 5–0 in Marseille. Cha was sacked in the middle of the group stage after the loss to the Netherlands. The only South Korean player to be praised from the match was the goalkeeper Kim Byung-ji,[29] who conceded five of the Netherlands' 17 shots on target.[30] The team then managed a 1–1 draw against Belgium.

Hiddink's magic (2002)

On 18 December 2000, the KFA named Dutch coach Guus Hiddink as the manager of the team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted in South Korea.[31] The KFA promised him to ensure long-term training camps and authority about management of coaching staff.[32] At the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, they lost 5–0 against France, the eventual champions, and failed to advance to the semi-finals although defeating Australia and Mexico. South Korean journalists criticized Hiddnk and gave him a nickname "Oh-dae-ppang", which means five to nothing in Korean, when South Korea lost 5–0 again in the friendly match against Czech Republic after the Confederations Cup.[33] At the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup, South Korea finished in fourth place with two draws and three losses without a win. However, they showed their improvement in friendly matches against European teams just before the World Cup, finishing the preparation for the tournament successfully.[34][35][36]

Seoul Plaza during the 2002 World Cup
Seoul Plaza during the 2002 World Cup

South Korea co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament with Japan. They had never won a game in the World Cup previously but the South Korean team achieved their first ever victory in a World Cup with a 2–0 victory against Poland when the tournament began. Their next game was against the United States and earned a 1–1 draw, with striker Ahn Jung-hwan scoring a late game equalizer. Their last game was against the favored Portuguese side. Portugal earned two red cards in the match, reducing them to nine men and Park Ji-sung scored the winning goal in a 1–0 victory, allowing the South Korean team to qualify for the second round for the first time in their history. The team's success led to widespread euphoria from the South Korean public, with many people joining the Red Devils, which gained widespread attention with their passionate support of the team.[37]

South Korea's second round opponents were Italy, who they defeated 2–1. The South Korean team was awarded an early penalty but Ahn Jung-hwan's effort was saved by Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Christian Vieri then scored to put Italy ahead but Seol Ki-hyeon scored an equalizer in the 88th minute, allowing the game to go through to extra time. Francesco Totti was controversially sent off for an alleged dive and Ahn redeemed his missed penalty by scoring the winner with a headed golden goal, allowing them to advance to the quarter-final. South Korea faced Spain in the quarter-finals. Spain managed to score twice in this match, but both goals were disallowed by the referees.[38][39] The game then went to the penalty shoot-out where South Korea won 5–3, thus becoming the first Asian team to reach the final four.[40] The South Korean team's run was halted by a 1–0 loss to Germany in the semi-finals. They lost to Turkey 3–2 in the third-place match and finished the tournament in fourth place.

Team captain Hong Myung-bo received the Bronze Ball as the World Cup's third best player, the first Asian footballer to be awarded this. In addition Hong was selected for the team of tournament alongside teammate Yoo Sang-chul, the first and only time Asian footballers have been named. This level of success was unprecedented for a country that had never before won a game in the World Cup. They had gone further than any Asian team and upset several established European teams in the process, leading to an increase in the popularity of football in the country. Hiddink became a national hero in South Korea, becoming the first person to be granted honorary citizenship as well as being given a private villa.[citation needed]

Captain Park era (2008)

South Korea playing against Argentina at the FIFA World Cup, in June 2010.
South Korea playing against Argentina at the FIFA World Cup, in June 2010.

In 2008, South Korea chose Huh Jung-moo as their manager, and Park Ji-sung as the next captain. Under Huh and Park, the South Korean team was undefeated for 27 consecutive games in 2009.[41] At the fourth round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, they recorded four wins and four draws without a loss against North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, they won their first game against Greece 2–0, with goals from Lee Jung-soo and Park Ji-sung. They then faced Argentina and suffered a 4–1 defeat, including an own goal by forward Park Chu-young. They then obtained a 2–2 draw in a match against Nigeria, with Lee Jung-soo scoring in the tournament once more and Park Chu-young redeeming his own goal from the previous game by scoring from a free kick. This allowed them to make it to the second round for the first time on foreign soil. In the knockout stage they met Uruguay, who took an early lead with a goal from Luis Suárez. South Korea equalized in the second half after Lee Chung-yong scored his second goal of the tournament but South Korea conceded another goal by Suárez in the 80th minute. Despite maintaining the majority of the possession in the second half, South Korea was unable to equalize again and were eliminated from the tournament.

Miracle of Kazan (2018)

For the combined qualification matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, South Korea won all seven matches without conceding a goal in the second round but following a series of poor results in the third round of qualifiers, including losses to China and Qatar, the former manager Uli Stielike was sacked and was replaced by under-23 coach Shin Tae-yong for the remainder of the qualifying round.[42] Under Shin Tae-yong, the team managed to qualify as the second-placed team in their group following two goalless draws against Iran and Uzbekistan, sending South Korea to the World Cup for the ninth consecutive time.[43]

South Korea national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
South Korea national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

At the 2018 World Cup, they lost their first game against Sweden 1–0 after conceding a penalty kick. They then faced Mexico and lost 2–1 after conceding another penalty kick. However, despite their two consecutive losses, South Korea was not eliminated just yet. To have any chance of advancing, South Korea would have to win their final group stage match against the defending champions Germany by at least two goals and Mexico would have to defeat Sweden in its last group stage game.[44] South Korea for its part did what it had to do to stay in contention and won 2–0 against Germany with goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min, causing them to be eliminated in the first round for the first time in 80 years. Germany had 28 shots with 6 on target, but the South Korea's defense, led by keeper Jo Hyeon-woo, did not concede once.[45] However, Mexico lost to Sweden that same day and thus South Korea ultimately finished third in the group. As a result, South Korea saved Mexico from being eliminated and Mexican fans heavily praised the Koreans and celebrated their victory in front of the South Korean embassy.[46] The match is also called the "Miracle of Kazan" in South Korea although they dropped out of the tournament.[47]

Team image

Nicknames

The South Korea national football team has been known or nicknamed as the Taegeuk Warriors (Korean태극전사) and the Tigers of Asia (Korean아시아의 호랑이).[48][49]

Kits and crest

Red is the traditional shirt color of the South Korean national team, who are consequently nicknamed the "Reds", while the fans are called the "Red Devils". The away shirt has varied between white and blue. In 1994, the home shirt shifted from red to white, but in October 1995, red returned as home color, paired with black shorts.

South Korea used to wear the South Korean flag as their shirt badge until 2001, when their tiger crest was unveiled.[50] On 5 February 2020, the KFA announced a new, more simplistic logo.[51] The emblem retained the tiger, albeit in a more minimalist design, enclosed in a rectangular frame.[51] Red, blue and white, South Korea's traditional colors, have been maintained in the new logo.[51]

Kit suppliers

Kit supplier Period Notes
Adidas, Asics, Kolon Sports,
Prospecs, Weekend [ko]
1977–1985 South Korea didn't have exculsive kit sponsor at that time,
though they contracted with Adidas as their first official kit sponsor.[52]
Weekend [ko] 1985–1988 Sportswear brand of Samsung C&T Corporation[53]
Rapido [ko] 1988–1995 Weekend was renamed "Rapido" in January 1988.[54]
Nike 1996–present Contracted at the end of 1995,[55] and sponsored since 1 January 1996.

Kit deals

Kit supplier Period Contract date Contract duration Total Annual Ref.
Nike 1996–present
December 1995
1996–1997 $3 million $1.5 million
16 December 1997 1998–2002 $38 million $7.6 million [56]
9 January 2003 2003–2007 $50 million $10.0 million [57]
23 October 2007 2008–2011 $49 million $12.3 million [58]
13 January 2012 2012–2019 $120 million $15.0 million [59]
20 January 2020
2020–2031 $204 million $17.0 million [60]

Home stadium

Main article: List of football stadiums in South Korea

The South Korea national team played their first home match at the Dongdaemun Stadium on 21 April 1956. The match was a qualifier for the 1956 AFC Asian Cup against the Philippines.[61] They currently play their home matches at several stadiums, which are also used by K League clubs.

Rivalries

South Korea's greatest rival is Japan. This rivalry is an extension of a competitive rivalry between the two nations that goes beyond football. Some matches in the past have been tainted with controversy. South Korea leads the all-time series with 42 wins, 23 draws and 15 losses.[62]

A rivalry has also developed with Iran.[63] The two nations have played against each other officially since 1958, totalling 32 matches as of October 2021, including ten World Cup qualifiers. South Korea and Iran were among the strongest Asian national teams during the 1960s and 1970s. Although the teams only had one chance to play against each other in the final match of the AFC Asian Cup, in 1972, they have faced each other five consecutive times in the quarter-finals between 1996 and 2011, with each team recording two wins, two losses, and a draw. Iran leads the all-time series with 13 wins, 10 draws and 9 losses.[62]

Another major rival is Australia, and is also one of the most followed rivalries in Asia.[citation needed] South Korea trails behind Australia with 8 wins, 11 draws and 9 defeats. In major competitions, South Korea won only two official matches against Australia, and also lost in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Final.[64]

South Korea has had great success against China, with China failing to defeat them in 28 competitive matches before finally winning a game in 2010. They also possess a strong rivalry with North Korea, though matches are infrequent due to diplomatic and security reasons.

Supporters

See also: Red Devils (supporters club)

The official supporter group of the national team, the Red Devils, were founded in 1995. Known for their passionate support, they are commonly referred to as the 12th man.[37] Their most common chant is "Dae-Han-Min-Guk" (Korean"대~한민국"; literally Republic of Korea or "Great Korea"), followed by five claps.[65] The FIFA Fan Fest was introduced at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea.

Recent results and fixtures

Main article: South Korea national football team results (2020–present)

  Win   Draw   Loss   Fixtures   Cancelled or postponed
The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.[66][67][68][69]

2021

25 March Friendly Japan  3–0  South Korea Yokohama, Japan
19:20 UTC+9
  • Yamane 16'
  • Kamada 27'
  • Endo 83'
Report Stadium: Nissan Stadium
Attendance: 8,356
Referee: Rowan Arumughan (India)
5 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round South Korea  5–0  Turkmenistan Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 4,057
Referee: Turki Al-Khudhayr (Saudi Arabia)
7 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round South Korea  Cancelled  North Korea Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
9 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round Sri Lanka  0–5  South Korea Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 4,008
Referee: Shen Yinhao (China)
13 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round South Korea  2–1  Lebanon Goyang, South Korea
15:00 UTC+9
Report
Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 4,061
Referee: Khamis Al-Marri (Qatar)
2 September 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round South Korea  0–0  Iraq Seoul, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)
7 September 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round South Korea  1–0  Lebanon Suwon, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Kwon Chang-hoon 60' Report Stadium: Suwon World Cup Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ryuji Sato (Japan)
7 October 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round South Korea  2–1  Syria Ansan, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report
Stadium: Ansan Wa~ Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (Qatar)
12 October 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round Iran  1–1  South Korea Tehran, Iran
17:00 UTC+3:30 Report Stadium: Azadi Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
11 November 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round South Korea  1–0  United Arab Emirates Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 30,152
Referee: Ma Ning (China PR)
16 November 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round Iraq  0–3  South Korea Doha, Qatar
18:00 UTC+3 Report Stadium: Thani bin Jassim Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (Uzbekistan)

2022

15 January Friendly South Korea  5–1  Iceland Antalya, Turkey
14:00 UTC+3 Report Stadium: Mardan Sports Complex
Attendance: 0
Referee: Ali Palabıyık (Turkey)
21 January Friendly South Korea  v  Moldova Antalya, Turkey
14:00 UTC+3 Report Stadium: Mardan Sports Complex
27 January 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round Lebanon  v  South Korea Sidon, Lebanon
14:00 UTC+2 Report Stadium: Saida Municipal Stadium
1 February 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round Syria  v  South Korea
Report
24 March 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round South Korea  v  Iran
Report
29 March 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round United Arab Emirates  v  South Korea
Report

All-time results

Main article: South Korea national football team results

As of 15 January 2022
Year GP W D L Win % Matches
1948–1949 4 2 1 1 050.00 Matches
1950–1959 44 26 8 10 059.09 Matches
1960–1969 90 52 15 23 057.78 Matches
1970–1979 186 117 44 25 062.90 Matches
1980–1989 129 75 29 25 058.14 Matches
1990–1999 151 70 45 36 046.36 Matches
2000–2009 171 76 56 39 044.44 Matches
2010–2019 154 81 31 42 052.60 Matches
2020–present 13 9 2 2 069.23 Matches
Total 942 508 231 203 053.93

Coaching staff

Paulo Bento became South Korea's 80th manager in 2018.
Guus Hiddink is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time in South Korea.[70]

Current personnel

As of 24 March 2020[71]
Position Name
Manager Portugal Paulo Bento
Assistant coaches Portugal Sérgio Costa
Portugal Filipe Coelho
Canada Michael Kim
South Korea Choi Tae-uk
Fitness coach Portugal Pedro Pereira
Goalkeeping coach Portugal Vítor Silvestre

Manager history

As of 15 January 2022[72][73]

A total of 51 managers managed South Korea during 80 appointments.

  1. ^ Does not include one match against Brazil Olympic at the 1964 Summer Olympics.
  2. ^ Participated in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup with B team,[75] but KFA recognised his results as international "A" matches.
  3. ^ Does not include two matches against the Soviet Union Olympic and Argentina Olympic at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
  4. ^ Including one uncontested match against Kuwait, which was registered as a 3–0 win as Kuwait was banned from competing.

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up for the friendly matches against Iceland and Moldova on 15 and 21 January 2022, respectively.[76][77]

Caps and goals updated as of 15 January 2022, after the match against Iceland.
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Kim Seung-gyu (1990-09-30) 30 September 1990 (age 31) 57 0 Japan Kashiwa Reysol
12 1GK Gu Sung-yun (1994-06-27) 27 June 1994 (age 27) 4 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
21 1GK Jo Hyeon-woo (1991-09-25) 25 September 1991 (age 30) 19 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
25 1GK Song Bum-keun (1997-10-15) 15 October 1997 (age 24) 0 0 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

2 2DF Lee Yong (1986-12-24) 24 December 1986 (age 35) 53 0 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
3 2DF Kim Jin-su (1992-06-13) 13 June 1992 (age 29) 50 1 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
4 2DF Park Ji-soo (1994-06-13) 13 June 1994 (age 27) 9 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
5 2DF Jung Seung-hyun (1994-04-03) 3 April 1994 (age 27) 9 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
14 2DF Hong Chul (1990-09-17) 17 September 1990 (age 31) 39 0 South Korea Daegu FC
15 2DF Kang Sang-woo (1993-10-07) 7 October 1993 (age 28) 2 0 South Korea Pohang Steelers
19 2DF Kim Young-gwon (1990-02-27) 27 February 1990 (age 31) 86 4 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
20 2DF Choi Ji-mook (1998-10-09) 9 October 1998 (age 23) 0 0 South Korea Seongnam FC
23 2DF Kim Tae-hwan (1989-07-24) 24 July 1989 (age 32) 13 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
2DF Kwon Kyung-won (1992-01-31) 31 January 1992 (age 29) 18 2 Japan Gamba Osaka

6 3MF Lee Yeong-jae (1994-09-13) 13 September 1994 (age 27) 3 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
7 3MF Song Min-kyu (1999-09-12) 12 September 1999 (age 22) 8 0 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
8 3MF Paik Seung-ho (1997-03-17) 17 March 1997 (age 24) 5 1 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
10 3MF Lee Dong-gyeong (1997-09-20) 20 September 1997 (age 24) 7 1 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
11 3MF Lee Dong-jun (1997-02-01) 1 February 1997 (age 24) 2 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
16 3MF Kim Jin-kyu (1997-02-24) 24 February 1997 (age 24) 1 1 South Korea Busan IPark
17 3MF Kim Dae-won (1997-02-10) 10 February 1997 (age 24) 0 0 South Korea Gangwon FC
22 3MF Kwon Chang-hoon (1994-06-30) 30 June 1994 (age 27) 29 8 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
24 3MF Eom Ji-sung (2002-05-09) 9 May 2002 (age 19) 1 1 South Korea Gwangju FC
26 3MF Ko Seung-beom (1994-04-24) 24 April 1994 (age 27) 0 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu

9 4FW Cho Gue-sung (1998-01-25) 25 January 1998 (age 23) 5 1 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu
13 4FW Cho Young-wook (1999-02-05) 5 February 1999 (age 22) 0 0 South Korea FC Seoul
18 4FW Kim Gun-hee (1995-02-22) 22 February 1995 (age 26) 1 0 South Korea Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the South Korea squad within the last twelve months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Kim Jin-hyeon (1987-07-06) 6 July 1987 (age 34) 16 0 Japan Cerezo Osaka v.  Lebanon, 13 June 2021

DF Kim Min-jae (1996-11-15) 15 November 1996 (age 25) 38 3 Turkey Fenerbahçe v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
DF Kim Moon-hwan (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 26) 14 0 United States Los Angeles FC v.  Lebanon, 7 September 2021
DF Lee Ki-je (1991-07-09) 9 July 1991 (age 30) 2 0 South Korea Suwon Samsung Bluewings v.  Lebanon, 7 September 2021
DF Kim Young-bin (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 (age 30) 1 0 South Korea Gangwon FC v.  Lebanon, 13 June 2021
DF Park Joo-ho (1987-01-16) 16 January 1987 (age 35) 40 1 South Korea Suwon FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
DF Yoon Jong-gyu (1998-03-20) 20 March 1998 (age 23) 1 0 South Korea FC Seoul v.  Japan, 25 March 2021

MF Won Du-jae (1997-11-18) 18 November 1997 (age 24) 6 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai v.  Iceland, 15 January 2022 WD
MF Son Heung-min (1992-07-08) 8 July 1992 (age 29) 96 30 England Tottenham Hotspur v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Lee Jae-sung (1992-08-10) 10 August 1992 (age 29) 59 9 Germany Mainz 05 v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Jung Woo-young (1989-12-14) 14 December 1989 (age 32) 58 3 Qatar Al-Sadd v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Hwang Hee-chan (1996-01-26) 26 January 1996 (age 25) 43 7 England Wolverhampton Wanderers v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Hwang In-beom (1996-09-20) 20 September 1996 (age 25) 29 4 Russia Rubin Kazan v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Jeong Woo-yeong (1999-09-20) 20 September 1999 (age 22) 2 1 Germany SC Freiburg v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Um Won-sang (1999-01-06) 6 January 1999 (age 23) 2 0 South Korea Gwangju FC v.  Iraq, 16 November 2021
MF Na Sang-ho (1996-08-12) 12 August 1996 (age 25) 16 2 South Korea FC Seoul v.  Iran, 12 October 2021
MF Ju Se-jong (1990-10-30) 30 October 1990 (age 31) 29 1 Japan Gamba Osaka v.  Lebanon, 7 September 2021
MF Son Jun-ho (1992-05-12) 12 May 1992 (age 29) 12 0 China Shandong Taishan v.  Lebanon, 7 September 2021
MF Nam Tae-hee (1991-07-03) 3 July 1991 (age 30) 53 7 Qatar Al-Duhail v.  Iraq, 2 September 2021 INJ
MF Yoon Bit-garam (1990-05-07) 7 May 1990 (age 31) 15 3 South Korea Jeju United v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Lee Kang-in (2001-02-19) 19 February 2001 (age 20) 6 0 Spain Mallorca v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Lee Jin-hyun (1997-08-26) 26 August 1997 (age 24) 4 0 South Korea Daejeon Hana Citizen v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Kim In-sung (1989-09-09) 9 September 1989 (age 32) 3 0 South Korea Seoul E-Land v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Cho Jae-wan (1995-08-29) 29 August 1995 (age 26) 0 0 South Korea Gangwon FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021

FW Hwang Ui-jo (1992-08-28) 28 August 1992 (age 29) 40 14 France Bordeaux v.  Iran, 12 October 2021
FW Kim Shin-wook (1988-04-14) 14 April 1988 (age 33) 56 16 Singapore Lion City Sailors v.  Lebanon, 13 June 2021
FW Jung Sang-bin (2002-04-01) 1 April 2002 (age 19) 1 1 South Korea Suwon Samsung Bluewings v.  Lebanon, 13 June 2021
FW Lee Jeong-hyeop (1991-06-24) 24 June 1991 (age 30) 25 5 South Korea Gangwon FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021

Notes
  • INJ = Withdrew due to injury
  • WD = Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.

Notable former players

The following players were inducted into the KFA Hall of Fame,[78] or were selected for the Korean Best XI of All Time in one or more surveys.[79][80]

  • Goalkeepers

  • Defenders
  • Midfielders
  • Forwards
  • Records

    Main article: South Korea national football team records and statistics

    Hong Myung-bo is South Korea's joint-most capped player with 136 appearances.
    Hong Myung-bo is South Korea's joint-most capped player with 136 appearances.

    Most appearances

    As of 18 December 2019[81]
    Rank Player Caps Goals Career
    1 Cha Bum-kun 136 58 1972–1986
    Hong Myung-bo 136 10 1990–2002
    3 Lee Woon-jae 133 0 1994–2010
    4 Lee Young-pyo 127 5 1999–2011
    5 Kim Ho-kon 124 5 1971–1979
    6 Yoo Sang-chul 120 18 1994–2005
    7 Cho Young-jeung 113 1 1975–1986
    8 Ki Sung-yueng 110 10 2008–2019
    9 Park Sung-hwa 107 26 1975–1984
    10 Kim Tae-young 104 3 1992–2004
    Lee Dong-gook 104 33 1998–2017

    Top goalscorers

    Cha Bum-kun is South Korea's joint-most capped player and top goalscorer with 58 goals.
    Cha Bum-kun is South Korea's joint-most capped player and top goalscorer with 58 goals.
    As of 16 November 2021[81]

    Players in bold are still active, at least at club level.

    Rank Player Goals Caps Ratio Career
    1 Cha Bum-kun 58 136 0.43 1972–1986
    2 Hwang Sun-hong 50 103 0.49 1988–2002
    3 Park Lee-chun 36 89 0.4 1969–1974
    4 Kim Jae-han 33 57 0.58 1972–1979
    Lee Dong-gook 33 104 0.32 1998–2017
    6 Son Heung-min 30 96 0.31 2010–present
    Choi Soon-ho 30 103 0.29 1980–1991
    8 Kim Do-hoon 29 72 0.4 1994–2003
    Huh Jung-moo 29 84 0.35 1974–1986
    10 Choi Yong-soo 27 67 0.4 1995–2003
    Lee Tae-ho 27 72 0.38 1980–1991
    Kim Jin-kook 27 94 0.29 1972–1978

    Competitive record

      Champions    Runners-up    Third place     Fourth place  

    FIFA World Cup

    Main article: South Korea at the FIFA World Cup

    FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
    Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
    Uruguay 1930 Not a FIFA member
    Italy 1934
    France 1938
    Brazil 1950 Did not enter
    Switzerland 1954 Group stage 16th 2 0 0 2 0 16 Squad 2 1 1 0 7 3
    Sweden 1958 Preliminary competition entry denied[82]
    Chile 1962 Did not qualify 4 2 0 2 6 9
    England 1966 Did not enter
    Mexico 1970 Did not qualify 4 1 2 1 6 5
    West Germany 1974 8 3 4 1 10 4
    Argentina 1978 12 5 6 1 16 9
    Spain 1982 3 2 0 1 7 4
    Mexico 1986 Group stage 20th 3 0 1 2 4 7 Squad 8 7 0 1 17 3
    Italy 1990 22nd 3 0 0 3 1 6 Squad 11 9 2 0 30 1
    United States 1994 20th 3 0 2 1 4 5 Squad 13 9 3 1 32 5
    France 1998 30th 3 0 1 2 2 9 Squad 12 9 2 1 28 8
    South Korea Japan 2002 Fourth place 4th 7 3 2 2 8 6 Squad Qualified as hosts
    Germany 2006 Group stage 17th 3 1 1 1 3 4 Squad 12 7 3 2 18 7
    South Africa 2010 Round of 16 15th 4 1 1 2 6 8 Squad 14 7 7 0 22 7
    Brazil 2014 Group stage 27th 3 0 1 2 3 6 Squad 14 8 3 3 27 11
    Russia 2018 19th 3 1 0 2 3 3 Squad 18 12 3 3 38 10
    Qatar 2022 To be determined 12 9 3 0 30 3
    Canada Mexico United States 2026 To be determined
    Total Fourth place 10/18[a] 34 6 9 19 34 70 147 91 39 17 294 89
    1. ^ Statistics since 1948, when South Korea became a member of FIFA.

    Olympic Games

    Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
    Summer Olympics record Qualification record[83]
    Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
    19001936 Not an IOC member
    United Kingdom 1948 Quarter-finals 8th 2 1 0 1 5 15 Squad Directly qualified
    Finland 1952 Did not enter
    Australia 1956 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 2 2
    Italy 1960 4 2 0 2 4 4
    Japan 1964 Group stage 14th 3[a] 0 0 3 1 20 Squad 4 2 1 1 7 4
    Mexico 1968 Did not qualify 5 4 1 0 17 5
    West Germany 1972 4 3 0 1 16 2
    Canada 1976 6 3 2 1 10 5
    Soviet Union 1980 6 4 0 2 16 6
    United States 1984 11 5 3 3 19 11
    South Korea 1988 Group stage 11th 3[b] 0 2 1 1 2 Squad Qualified as hosts
    1992–present See South Korea national under-23 football team
    Total Quarter-finals 3/11[c] 8 1 2 5 7 37 42 24 7 11 91 39
    1. ^ Includes one unofficial match against Brazil Olympic.
    2. ^ Includes two unofficial matches against the Soviet Union Olympic and Argentina Olympic.
    3. ^ Statistics since 1947, when South Korea became a member of IOC.

    AFC Asian Cup

    Main article: South Korea at the AFC Asian Cup

    AFC Asian Cup record Qualification record
    Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
    British Hong Kong 1956 Champions 1st 3 2 1 0 9 6 Squad 4 4 0 0 9 1
    South Korea 1960 Champions 1st 3 3 0 0 9 1 Squad Qualified as hosts
    Israel 1964 "B" team entered[a]
    Pahlavi Iran 1968 Did not qualify 4 1 1 2 9 4
    Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1972 Runners-up 2nd 5 1 2 2 7 6 Squad Walkover
    Pahlavi Iran 1976 Did not qualify 4 2 0 2 3 3
    Kuwait 1980 Runners-up 2nd 6 4 1 1 12 6 Squad 3 3 0 0 10 1
    Singapore 1984 Group stage 9th 4 0 2 2 1 3 Squad 4 3 1 0 13 0
    Qatar 1988 Runners-up 2nd 6 5 1 0 11 3 Squad "B" team entered
    Japan 1992 Did not qualify "B" team entered
    United Arab Emirates 1996 Quarter-finals 7th 4 1 1 2 7 11 Squad 3 3 0 0 17 0
    Lebanon 2000 Third place 3rd 6 3 1 2 9 6 Squad 3 3 0 0 19 0
    China 2004 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 1 1 9 4 Squad 6 4 0 2 30 4
    Indonesia Malaysia Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg Vietnam 2007 Third place 3rd 6 1 4 1 3 3 Squad 6 3 2 1 15 5
    Qatar 2011 Third place 3rd 6 4 2 0 13 7 Squad Directly qualified
    Australia 2015 Runners-up 2nd 6 5 0 1 8 2 Squad Directly qualified
    United Arab Emirates 2019 Quarter-finals 5th 5 4 0 1 6 2 Squad 8 8 0 0 27 0
    China 2023 Qualified 6 5 1 0 22 1
    Total 2 titles 14/18 64 35 16 13 104 60 51 39 5 7 174 19
    AFC Asian Cup record Qualification record
    Team Best result Apps Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
    "A" team 2 titles 14/18 64 35 16 13 104 60 51 39 5 7 174 19
    "B" team Third place 1/18 3[a] 1 0 2 2 4 5 2 1 2 12 5
    National total 2 titles 15/18 67 36 16 15 106 64 56 41 6 9 186 24
    1. ^ a b Recognised as international "A" matches.

    Asian Games

    Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
    Asian Games record
    Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad
    India 1951 Did not enter
    Philippines 1954 Silver medalists 2nd 4 1 2 1 15 12 Squad
    Japan 1958 Silver medalists 2nd 5 4 0 1 15 6 Squad
    Indonesia 1962 Silver medalists 2nd 5 4 0 1 9 5 Squad
    Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1966 First round 11th 2 0 0 2 0 4 Squad
    Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1970 Gold medalists 1st 6 3 2 1 5 3 Squad
    Iran 1974 Second round 8th 5 1 1 3 4 10 Squad
    Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1978 Gold medalists 1st 7 6 1 0 15 3 Squad
    India 1982 Group stage 9th 3 1 0 2 4 3 Squad
    South Korea 1986 Gold medalists 1st 6 4 2 0 14 3 Squad
    China 1990 Bronze medalists 3rd 6 5 0 1 18 1 Squad
    Japan 1994 Fourth place 4th 6 3 0 3 17 7 Squad
    Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1998 Quarter-finals 6th 6 4 0 2 12 6 Squad
    2002–present See South Korea national under-23 football team
    Total 3 titles 12/13 61 36 8 17 128 63

    EAFF Championship

    EAFF Championship record
    Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad
    Japan 2003 Champions 1st 3 2 1 0 4 1 Squad
    South Korea 2005 Fourth place 4th 3 0 2 1 1 2 Squad
    China 2008 Champions 1st 3 1 2 0 5 4 Squad
    Japan 2010 Runners-up 2nd 3 2 0 1 8 4 Squad
    South Korea 2013 Third place 3rd 3 0 2 1 1 2 Squad
    China 2015 Champions 1st 3 1 2 0 3 1 Squad
    Japan 2017 Champions 1st 3 2 1 0 7 3 Squad
    South Korea 2019 Champions 1st 3 3 0 0 4 0 Squad
    Total 5 titles 8/8 24 11 10 3 33 17

    Other competitions

    Year Competition Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad
    United States 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group stage 9th 2 0 2 0 2 2 Squad
    South Korea Japan 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup Group stage 5th 3 2 0 1 3 6 Squad
    United States 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup Fourth place 4th 5 0 2 3 3 7 Squad

    Head-to-head record

    The following table shows South Korea's head-to-head record, correct as of 15 January 2022.[84]

    Key
    Positive balance (more wins)
    Neutral balance (equal W/L ratio)
    Negative balance (more losses)
    1. ^ Until 2006, Australia was a member of OFC.
    2. ^ Including the Khmer Republic.
    3. ^ Including the Republic of China.
    4. ^ Including Czechoslovakia.
    5. ^ Including the United Arab Republic.
    6. ^ Israel was a member of AFC between 1954 and 1974. In 1994, they received full UEFA membership.
    7. ^ Including the Federation of Malaya.
    8. ^ Including Burma.
    9. ^ Including Macedonia.
    10. ^ Including South Vietnam.
    11. ^ Including North Yemen.
    12. ^ Including SFR Yugoslavia and FR Yugoslavia.

    Honours

    Fourth place: 2002
    1st place, gold medalist(s) Champions: 1987
    1st place, gold medalist(s) Champions: 1956, 1960
    2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runners-up: 1972, 1980, 1988, 2015
    3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Third place: 1964, 2000, 2007, 2011
    1st place, gold medalist(s) Gold medalists: 1970, 1978, 1986
    2nd place, silver medalist(s) Silver medalists: 1954, 1958, 1962
    3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Bronze medalists: 1990
    Fourth place: 1994
    Fourth place: 2002
    1st place, gold medalist(s) Champions: 2003, 2008, 2015, 2017, 2019
    2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runners-up: 2010
    3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Third place: 2013
    Fourth place: 2005

    See also

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