South Korea national football team

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Korea Republic
Shirt badge/Association crest
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 39 Decrease 1 (7 April 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)
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[edit]

Early history[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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, their results improved at three friendly matches prior to the World Cup against Scotland,[34] England,[35] and France.[36]

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)[edit]

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

In 2008, South Korea chose Huh Jung-moo as their manager again, 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)[edit]

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

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[edit]

Nicknames[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Kit supplier Period Contract date Contract duration Total Per year 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[edit]

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

Rivalries[edit]

Notable rivalries[edit]

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 31 matches as of June 2019, including nine 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, 9 draws and 9 losses.[62]

Another major rival is Australia, and is also one of the most followed rivalries in Asia. 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.

Head-to-head records[edit]

As of 25 March 2021[62]
Opponent GP W D L GF GA GD Win % Details
 Japan 80 42 23 15 124 73 +51 052.50 Matches
 China PR 35 20 13 2 49 26 +23 057.14 Matches
 Iran 31 9 9 13 33 33 +0 029.03 Matches
 Australia 28 8 11 9 28 28 +0 028.57 Matches
 North Korea 17 7 9 1 14 6 +8 041.18 Matches
All nations 932 500 229 203 1,665 861 +804 053.65 List

Supporters[edit]

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.

Results and fixtures[edit]

All matches[edit]

As of 25 March 2021
Year GP W D L Win % Details
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 3 1 0 2 033.33 Matches
Total 932 500 229 203 053.65

Recent results[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss   Fixtures
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]

2020[edit]

12 October Unofficial friendly South Korea U23  0–3  South Korea Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 2,075
Referee: Kim Woo-sung (South Korea)
14 November Friendly Mexico  3–2  South Korea Wiener Neustadt, Austria
21:00 UTC+1
Report Stadium: Stadion Wiener Neustadt
Attendance: 0
Referee: Harald Lechner (Austria)
17 November Friendly South Korea  2–1  Qatar Maria Enzersdorf, Austria
14:00 UTC+1 Report
Stadium: BSFZ-Arena
Attendance: 0
Referee: Julian Weinberger (Austria)

2021[edit]

25 March Friendly Japan  3–0  South Korea Yokohama, Japan
19:20 UTC+9
Report Stadium: Nissan Stadium
Attendance: 8,356[70]
Referee: Rowan Arumughan (India)

Coaching staff[edit]

Paulo Bento became the 81st manager of South Korea in 2018.
Guus Hiddink is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time in South Korea.

Current coaching staff[edit]

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

Manager history[edit]

A total of 54 managers managed the South Korea national football team during 81 appointments.

Record holders

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up for the friendly match against Japan on 25 March 2021.[76][77]
Caps and goals updated as of 25 March 2021, after the match against Japan.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Kim Seung-gyu (1990-09-30) 30 September 1990 (age 30) 49 0 Japan Kashiwa Reysol
12 1GK Jo Hyeon-woo (1991-09-25) 25 September 1991 (age 29) 17 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
21 1GK Kim Jin-hyeon (1987-07-06) 6 July 1987 (age 33) 16 0 Japan Cerezo Osaka

19 2DF Kim Young-gwon (captain) (1990-02-27) 27 February 1990 (age 31) 79 3 Japan Gamba Osaka
6 2DF Park Joo-ho (1987-01-16) 16 January 1987 (age 34) 40 1 South Korea Suwon FC
14 2DF Hong Chul (1990-09-17) 17 September 1990 (age 30) 31 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
2 2DF Kim Tae-hwan (1989-07-24) 24 July 1989 (age 31) 11 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
23 2DF Park Ji-soo (1994-06-13) 13 June 1994 (age 26) 4 0 South Korea Suwon FC
16 2DF Won Du-jae (1997-11-18) 18 November 1997 (age 23) 3 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
3 2DF Yoon Jong-gyu (1998-03-20) 20 March 1998 (age 23) 1 0 South Korea FC Seoul
4 2DF Kim Young-bin (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 (age 29) 0 0 South Korea Gangwon FC

5 3MF Jung Woo-young (1989-12-14) 14 December 1989 (age 31) 52 3 Qatar Al-Sadd
10 3MF Nam Tae-hee (1991-07-03) 3 July 1991 (age 29) 49 6 Qatar Al-Sadd
9 3MF Na Sang-ho (1996-08-12) 12 August 1996 (age 24) 14 2 South Korea FC Seoul
20 3MF Lee Kang-in (2001-02-19) 19 February 2001 (age 20) 6 0 Spain Valencia
8 3MF Lee Jin-hyun (1997-08-26) 26 August 1997 (age 23) 4 0 South Korea Daejeon Hana Citizen
7 3MF Kim In-sung (1989-09-09) 9 September 1989 (age 31) 3 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
13 3MF Lee Dong-gyeong (1997-09-20) 20 September 1997 (age 23) 3 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
22 3MF Jeong Woo-yeong (1999-09-20) 20 September 1999 (age 21) 1 0 Germany SC Freiburg
11 3MF Lee Dong-jun (1997-02-01) 1 February 1997 (age 24) 1 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai
17 3MF Cho Jae-wan (1995-08-29) 29 August 1995 (age 25) 0 0 South Korea Gangwon FC

18 4FW Lee Jeong-hyeop (1991-06-24) 24 June 1991 (age 29) 25 5 South Korea Gyeongnam FC
15 4FW Cho Young-wook (1999-02-05) 5 February 1999 (age 22) 0 0 South Korea FC Seoul

Recent call-ups[edit]

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 Gu Sung-yun (1994-06-27) 27 June 1994 (age 26) 4 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
GK Lee Chang-geun (1993-08-30) 30 August 1993 (age 27) 1 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020

DF Kwon Kyung-won (1992-01-31) 31 January 1992 (age 29) 16 2 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020 INJ
DF Jung Seung-hyun (1994-04-03) 3 April 1994 (age 27) 8 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Lee Ju-yong (1992-09-26) 26 September 1992 (age 28) 5 0 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Jeong Tae-wook (1997-05-16) 16 May 1997 (age 23) 0 0 South Korea Daegu FC v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Kim Moon-hwan (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 25) 11 0 United States Los Angeles FC v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 WD
DF Kim Min-jae (1996-11-15) 15 November 1996 (age 24) 30 3 China Beijing Guoan v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 WD
DF Kim Jin-su (1992-06-13) 13 June 1992 (age 28) 46 1 Saudi Arabia Al-Nassr v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 INJ
DF Sim Sang-min (1993-05-21) 21 May 1993 (age 27) 0 0 South Korea Gimcheon Sangmu v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020

MF Yoon Bit-garam (1990-05-07) 7 May 1990 (age 30) 15 3 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Son Heung-min (captain) (1992-07-08) 8 July 1992 (age 28) 89 26 England Tottenham Hotspur v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Ju Se-jong (1990-10-30) 30 October 1990 (age 30) 28 1 Japan Gamba Osaka v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 COV
MF Um Won-sang (1999-01-06) 6 January 1999 (age 22) 1 0 South Korea Gwangju FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Hwang Hee-chan (1996-01-26) 26 January 1996 (age 25) 34 5 Germany RB Leipzig v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 WD
MF Lee Jae-sung (1992-08-10) 10 August 1992 (age 28) 51 8 Germany Holstein Kiel v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020 WD
MF Son Jun-ho (1992-05-12) 12 May 1992 (age 28) 8 0 China Shandong Taishan v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020 WD
MF Kwon Chang-hoon (1994-06-30) 30 June 1994 (age 26) 23 5 Germany SC Freiburg v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 WD
MF Hwang In-beom (1996-09-20) 20 September 1996 (age 24) 23 3 Russia Rubin Kazan v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 INJ
MF Lee Yeong-jae (1994-09-13) 13 September 1994 (age 26) 2 0 South Korea Suwon FC v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Han Seung-gyu (1996-09-28) 28 September 1996 (age 24) 0 0 South Korea Suwon FC v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Lee Hyeon-sik (1996-03-21) 21 March 1996 (age 25) 0 0 South Korea Daejeon Hana Citizen v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Lee Chung-yong (1988-07-02) 2 July 1988 (age 32) 89 9 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai v.  South Korea U23, 9 October 2020 INJ

FW Hwang Ui-jo (1992-08-28) 28 August 1992 (age 28) 34 12 France Bordeaux v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020 WD
FW Kim Ji-hyeon (1996-07-22) 22 July 1996 (age 24) 0 0 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020 INJ

INJ Withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
COV Player withdrew due to COVID-19
WD Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.

Notable former players[edit]

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

Player records[edit]

Team records[edit]

Category Date Opponent Venue Score Competition
First international match 2 August 1948  Mexico London, Great Britain 5–3 1948 Summer Olympics
First victory 2 August 1948  Mexico London, Great Britain 5–3 1948 Summer Olympics
First draw 16 January 1949  Vietnam Saigon, Vietnam 3–3 Friendly
First defeat 5 August 1948  Sweden London, Great Britain 0–12 1948 Summer Olympics
Biggest victory 29 September 2003    Nepal Incheon, South Korea 16–0 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification
Biggest defeat 5 August 1948  Sweden London, Great Britain 0–12 1948 Summer Olympics

Competitive record[edit]

  Champions    Runners-up    Third place     Fourth place  

FIFA World Cup[edit]

FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
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 4 2 2 0 10 0
CanadaMexicoUnited States 2026 To be determined
Total Fourth place 10/18[a] 34 6 9 19 34 70 139 84 38 17 274 86
  1. ^ Statistics since 1948, when South Korea became a member of FIFA.

Olympic Games[edit]

Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
Summer Olympics record Qualification record[83]
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
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 U23.
  2. ^ Includes two unofficial matches against the Soviet Union Olympic and Argentina Olympic.
  3. ^ Statistics since 1948, when South Korea became a member of FIFA.

AFC Asian Cup[edit]

AFC Asian Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
as "A" team (senior team)
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[84][a]
Pahlavi dynasty 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 dynasty 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
IndonesiaMalaysiaFlag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svgVietnam 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 To be determined 0 0 0 0 0 0
as "B" team (reserve team)
Israel 1964 Third place 3rd 3[a] 1 0 2 2 4 Squad Walkover
Qatar 1988 "A" team entered 3[b] 1 1 1 5 3
Japan 1992 Did not qualify 2[b] 1 0 1 7 2
Total 2 titles 14/17 67 36 16 15 106 64 50 36 5 9 164 23
  1. ^ a b Recognized as official matches.
  2. ^ a b Not recognized as official matches.

Asian Games[edit]

Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
Asian Games record
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad
India 1951 Did not enter
Philippines 1954 Silver medal 2nd 4 1 2 1 15 12 Squad
Japan 1958 Silver medal 2nd 5 4 0 1 15 6 Squad
Indonesia 1962 Silver medal 2nd 5 4 0 1 9 5 Squad
Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1966 Round 1 11th 2 0 0 2 0 4 Squad
Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1970 Gold medal 1st 6 3 2 1 5 3 Squad
Iran 1974 Round 2 8th 5 1 1 3 4 10 Squad
Flag of Thailand (TIS 982 draft standard).svg 1978 Gold medal 1st 7 6 1 0 15 3 Squad
India 1982 Group stage 9th 3 1 0 2 4 3 Squad
South Korea 1986 Gold medal 1st 6 4 2 0 14 3 Squad
China 1990 Bronze medal 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[edit]

EAFF Championship record
Year Result Position GP 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[edit]

Year Competition Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad
United States 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group stage 9th 2 0 2 0 2 2 Squad
South KoreaJapan 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

Honours[edit]

Fourth place: 2002
Winners: 1956, 1960
Runners-up: 1972, 1980, 1988, 2015
Third place: 1964, 2000, 2007, 2011
Gold medal: 1970, 1978, 1986
Silver medal: 1954, 1958, 1962
Bronze medal: 1990
Fourth place: 1994
Fourth place: 2002
Winners: 1987
Winners: 2003, 2008, 2015, 2017, 2019
Runners-up: 2010
Third place: 2013
Fourth place: 2005
  • Minor competitions
Korea Cup: 1971, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1997[85]
Pestabola Merdeka: 1960, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978[86]
King's Cup: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1998[87]
Jakarta Anniversary Tournament: 1981[88]
Dynasty Cup: 1990[89]
LG Cup: 2000, 2001, 2006[90]
  • Other awards
FIFA World Cup Most Entertaining Team: 2002
AFC National Team of the Year: 2002, 2009
EAFF Championship Fair Play Award: 2008
AFC Asian Cup Fair Play Award: 2011

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]