South Korea national football team

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.[2] 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.[3]

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 39 (27 May 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)
Medal record
Men's football
AFC Asian Cup
1956 Hong KongTeam
1960 South KoreaTeam
1972 ThailandTeam
1980 KuwaitTeam
1988 QatarTeam
2015 AustraliaTeam
1964 IsraelTeam
2000 LebanonTeam
2007 Indonesia/Malaysia
/Thailand/Vietnam
Team
2011 QatarTeam
Asian Games
1970 BangkokTeam
1978 BangkokTeam
1986 SeoulTeam
1954 ManilaTeam
1958 TokyoTeam
1962 JakartaTeam
1990 BeijingTeam
EAFF Championship
2003 JapanTeam
2008 ChinaTeam
2015 ChinaTeam
2017 JapanTeam
2019 South KoreaTeam
2010 JapanTeam
2013 South KoreaTeam
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

History

Early history

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4] Koreans also played for the Japanese national team, most notably Kim Yong-sik who played for Japan at the 1936 Summer Olympics.[6]

The Joseon FA was reorganized in 1945 as Japanese occupation ended with the end of World War II.[4][7] 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.[4]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] They hosted the next edition in 1960 and successfully retained the title, beating South Vietnam, Israel, and Republic of China in the process.[11] However, the South Korean players received fake medals, instead of the gold medals they had been promised, and returned them to the KFA.[12] 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."[13]

Foundation of Yangzee (1967)

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.[14] 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.[15] Yangzee players received benefits like exemption from military service, long-term overseas training and high salaries in return for intensive training.[15] At the 1968 Summer Olympics qualification, South Korea was eliminated by goal difference although their points were tied with Japan, the group winners.[16] They also participated in the 1969 Asian Club Championship, finishing as runners-up.[17] 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.[15] 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.[18]

Golden generation (1986)

Oh
Yun-kyo
Cho
Young-jeung
Chung
Yong-hwan
Park
Kyung-hoon
Huh
Jung-moo
Park
Chang-sun
Cho
Kwang-rae
Byun
Byung-joo
Kim
Joo-sung
Cha
Bum-kun
Choi
Soon-ho
South Korean starting line-up against Italy at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[19][20]

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,[21][22] joined the existing winning team, the South Korean squad for the 1986 FIFA World Cup was evaluated as the golden generation in their country.[23] 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.[24][25] South Korea redeemed their failure of World Cup success with a gold at the 1986 Asian Games.[26]

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.[27] 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,[28] who conceded five of the Netherlands' 17 shots on target.[29] 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.[30] The KFA promised him to ensure long-term training camps and authority about management of coaching staff.[31] 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.[32] 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,[33] England,[34] and France.[35]

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.[36]

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.[37][38] 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.[39] 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.

Captain Park era (2008)

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.[40] 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.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45] The match is also called the "Miracle of Kazan" in South Korea although they dropped out of the tournament.[46]

Team image

Nicknames

The South Korea national football team has been known or nicknamed as the Taegeuk Warriors (Korean: 태극전사) and the Tigers of Asia (Korean: 아시아의 호랑이).[47][48]

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.[49] On 5 February 2020, the KFA announced a new, more simplistic logo.[50] The emblem retained the tiger, albeit in a more minimalist design, enclosed in a rectangular frame.[50] Red, blue and white, South Korea's traditional colors, have been maintained in the new logo.[50]

Kit suppliers

Kit supplier Period Notes
Adidas, Asics, Kolon Sports,
Prospecs, Weekend
1977–1985 South Korea didn't have exculsive kit sponsor at that time,
though they contracted with Adidas as their first official kit sponsor.[51]
Weekend 1985–1988 Sportswear brand of Samsung C&T Corporation[52]
Rapido 1988–1995 Weekend was renamed "Rapido" in January 1988.[53]
Nike 1996–present Contracted at the end of 1995,[54] and sponsored since 1 January 1996.

Kit deals

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 [55]
9 January 2003 2003–2007 $50 million $10.0 million [56]
23 October 2007 2008–2011 $49 million $12.3 million [57]
13 January 2012 2012–2019 $120 million $15.0 million [58]
20 January 2020
2020–2031 $204 million $17.0 million [59]

Home stadium

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.[60] They currently play their home matches at several stadiums which K League clubs also use.

Notable 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.[61]

A rivalry has also developed with Iran.[62] 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.[61]

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.[63]

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

As of 25 March 2021[61]
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

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.[36] Their most common chant is "Dae-Han-Min-Guk" (Korean: "대~한민국"; literally Republic of Korea or "Great Korea"), followed by five claps.[64] The FIFA Fan Fest was introduced at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea.

Results and fixtures

All matches

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

  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.[65][66][67][68]

2020

9 October Unofficial friendly South Korea  2–2  South Korea U23 Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9
  • Lee Ju-yong  14'
  • Lee Jeong-hyeop  89'
Report
  • Song Min-kyu  50'
  • Kwon Kyung-won  58' (o.g.)
Stadium: Goyang Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Kim Jong-hyeok (South Korea)
12 October Unofficial friendly South Korea U23  0–3  South Korea Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report
  • Lee Dong-gyeong  55'
  • Lee Ju-yong  89'
  • Lee Yeong-jae  90+2'
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
  • Jiménez  67'
  • Antuna  69'
  • Salcedo  70'
Report
  • Hwang Ui-jo  20'
  • Kwon Kyung-won  87'
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
  • Hwang Hee-chan  1'
  • Hwang Ui-jo  36'
Report
  • Ali  9'
Stadium: BSFZ-Arena
Attendance: 0
Referee: Julian Weinberger (Austria)

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[69]
Referee: Rowan Arumughan (India)
5 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round South Korea  v  Turkmenistan Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
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  v  South Korea Goyang, South Korea
20:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium
13 June 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round South Korea  v  Lebanon Goyang, South Korea
15:00 UTC+9 Report Stadium: Goyang Stadium

Coaching staff

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

As of 24 March 2020[70]
Position Name
Manager Paulo Bento
Assistant coach(es)
Sérgio Costa
Filipe Coelho
Michael Kim
Choi Tae-uk
Fitness coach Pedro Pereira
Goalkeeping coach Vítor Silvestre

Manager history

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

Record holders

  • Lee Young-min is the first manager who managed South Korea at an international competition by participating in the 1948 Summer Olympics. He also led South Korea to their first ever victory in an international competition by winning the first round of the tournament against Mexico.[71]
  • Kim Jung-nam is the only manager who managed the South Korea national team at four different major competitions: 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1988 Summer Olympics, 1980 AFC Asian Cup and 1986 Asian Games.[72] Under his leadership, South Korea won the gold medal at the 1986 Asian Games. (Huh Jung-moo also managed South Korea at the four competitions, but he participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics with under-23 team.)
  • Guus Hiddink led South Korea to their first World Cup win against Poland at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He became the first manager to lead an Asian nation into the semi-finals of the World Cup.[73]
  • Huh Jung-moo managed South Korea at the 2010 FIFA World Cup where they succeeded in reaching the knockout stage for the first time on foreign soil.[74]

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and Lebanon on 5, 9 and 13 June 2021, respectively.[75][76]

Caps and goals updated as of 25 March 2021, after the match against Japan.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Kim Seung-gyu (1990-09-30) 30 September 1990 49 0 Kashiwa Reysol
1GK Jo Hyeon-woo (1991-09-25) 25 September 1991 17 0 Ulsan Hyundai
1GK Kim Jin-hyeon (1987-07-06) 6 July 1987 16 0 Cerezo Osaka
1GK Gu Sung-yun (1994-06-27) 27 June 1994 4 0 Gimcheon Sangmu

2DF Kim Young-gwon (1990-02-27) 27 February 1990 79 3 Gamba Osaka
2DF Lee Yong (1986-12-24) 24 December 1986 45 0 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
2DF Hong Chul (1990-09-17) 17 September 1990 31 0 Ulsan Hyundai
2DF Kim Min-jae (1996-11-15) 15 November 1996 30 3 Beijing Guoan
2DF Kim Moon-hwan (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 11 0 Los Angeles FC
2DF Kim Tae-hwan (1989-07-24) 24 July 1989 11 0 Ulsan Hyundai
2DF Park Ji-soo (1994-06-13) 13 June 1994 4 0 Suwon FC
2DF Won Du-jae (1997-11-18) 18 November 1997 3 0 Ulsan Hyundai
2DF Kim Young-bin (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 0 0 Gangwon FC
2DF Lee Ki-je (1991-07-09) 9 July 1991 0 0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

3MF Son Heung-min (captain) (1992-07-08) 8 July 1992 89 26 Tottenham Hotspur
3MF Jung Woo-young (1989-12-14) 14 December 1989 52 3 Al-Sadd
3MF Lee Jae-sung (1992-08-10) 10 August 1992 51 8 Holstein Kiel
3MF Nam Tae-hee (1991-07-03) 3 July 1991 49 6 Al-Sadd
3MF Hwang Hee-chan (1996-01-26) 26 January 1996 34 5 RB Leipzig
3MF Kwon Chang-hoon (1994-06-30) 30 June 1994 23 5 Suwon Samsung Bluewings
3MF Son Jun-ho (1992-05-12) 12 May 1992 8 0 Shandong Taishan
3MF Lee Dong-gyeong (1997-09-20) 20 September 1997 3 0 Ulsan Hyundai
3MF Kang Sang-woo (1993-10-07) 7 October 1993 0 0 Pohang Steelers
3MF Song Min-kyu (1999-09-12) 12 September 1999 0 0 Pohang Steelers

4FW Kim Shin-wook (1988-04-14) 14 April 1988 55 14 Shanghai Shenhua
4FW Hwang Ui-jo (1992-08-28) 28 August 1992 34 12 Bordeaux
4FW Jung Sang-bin (2002-04-01) 1 April 2002 0 0 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 Lee Chang-geun (1993-08-30) 30 August 1993 1 0 Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020

DF Park Joo-ho (1987-01-16) 16 January 1987 40 1 Suwon FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
DF Yoon Jong-gyu (1998-03-20) 20 March 1998 1 0 FC Seoul v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
DF Kwon Kyung-won (1992-01-31) 31 January 1992 16 2 Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Jung Seung-hyun (1994-04-03) 3 April 1994 8 0 Gimcheon Sangmu v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Lee Ju-yong (1992-09-26) 26 September 1992 5 0 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Jeong Tae-wook (1997-05-16) 16 May 1997 0 0 Daegu FC v.  Qatar, 17 November 2020
DF Kim Jin-su (1992-06-13) 13 June 1992 46 1 Al-Nassr v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 WD
DF Sim Sang-min (1993-05-21) 21 May 1993 0 0 Gimcheon Sangmu v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020

MF Na Sang-ho (1996-08-12) 12 August 1996 14 2 FC Seoul v.  Turkmenistan, 5 June 2021 INJ
MF Ju Se-jong (1990-10-30) 30 October 1990 28 1 Gamba Osaka v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 WD
MF Yoon Bit-garam (1990-05-07) 7 May 1990 15 3 Ulsan Hyundai v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Lee Kang-in (2001-02-19) 19 February 2001 6 0 Valencia v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Lee Jin-hyun (1997-08-26) 26 August 1997 4 0 Daejeon Hana Citizen v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Kim In-sung (1989-09-09) 9 September 1989 3 0 Ulsan Hyundai v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Jeong Woo-yeong (1999-09-20) 20 September 1999 1 0 SC Freiburg v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Lee Dong-jun (1997-02-01) 1 February 1997 1 0 Ulsan Hyundai v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Um Won-sang (1999-01-06) 6 January 1999 1 0 Gwangju FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Cho Jae-wan (1995-08-29) 29 August 1995 0 0 Gangwon FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
MF Hwang In-beom (1996-09-20) 20 September 1996 23 3 Rubin Kazan v.  Mexico, 14 November 2020 WD
MF Lee Yeong-jae (1994-09-13) 13 September 1994 2 0 Suwon FC v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Han Seung-gyu (1996-09-28) 28 September 1996 0 0 Suwon FC v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Lee Hyeon-sik (1996-03-21) 21 March 1996 0 0 Daejeon Hana Citizen v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020
MF Lee Chung-yong (1988-07-02) 2 July 1988 89 9 Ulsan Hyundai v.  South Korea U23, 9 October 2020 INJ

FW Lee Jeong-hyeop (1991-06-24) 24 June 1991 25 5 Gyeongnam FC v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
FW Cho Young-wook (1999-02-05) 5 February 1999 0 0 FC Seoul v.  Japan, 25 March 2021
FW Kim Ji-hyeon (1996-07-22) 22 July 1996 0 0 Ulsan Hyundai v.  South Korea U23, 12 October 2020

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 Korean Football Hall of Fame,[77] or were selected for the Korean Football All-time Best XI in one or more surveys.[78][79]

Player records

Team records

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

  Champions    Runners-up    Third place     Fourth place  

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
1950 Did not enter
1954 Group stage 16th 2 0 0 2 0 16 Squad 211073
1958 Preliminary competition entry denied[81]
1962 Did not qualify 420269
1966 Did not enter
1970 Did not qualify 412165
1974 8341104
1978 12561169
1982 320174
1986 Group stage 20th 3 0 1 2 4 7 Squad 8701173
1990 22nd 3 0 0 3 1 6 Squad 11920301
1994 20th 3 0 2 1 4 5 Squad 13931325
1998 30th 3 0 1 2 2 9 Squad 12921288
2002 Fourth place 4th 7 3 2 2 8 6 Squad Qualified as hosts
2006 Group stage 17th 3 1 1 1 3 4 Squad 12732187
2010 Round of 16 15th 4 1 1 2 6 8 Squad 14770227
2014 Group stage 27th 3 0 1 2 3 6 Squad 148332711
2018 19th 3 1 0 2 3 3 Squad 1812333810
2022 To be determined 4220100
2026 To be determined
Total Fourth place 10/18[lower-alpha 1] 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

Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
Summer Olympics record Qualification record[82]
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
1948Quarter-finals8th2101515 Squad Directly qualified
1952Did not enter
1956Did not qualify 210122
1960 420244
1964Group stage14th3[lower-alpha 1]003120 Squad 421174
1968Did not qualify 5410175
1972 4301162
1976 6321105
1980 6402166
1984 115331911
1988Group stage11th3[lower-alpha 2]02112 Squad Qualified as hosts
1992–present See South Korea national under-23 football team
TotalQuarter-finals3/11[lower-alpha 3]812573742247119139
  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

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)
1956Champions1st321096 Squad 440091
1960Champions1st330091 Squad Qualified as hosts
1964"B" team entered[83][lower-alpha 1]
1968Did not qualify 411294
1972Runners-up2nd512276 Squad Walkover
1976Did not qualify 420233
1980Runners-up2nd6411126 Squad 3300101
1984Group stage9th402213 Squad 4310130
1988Runners-up2nd6510113 Squad "B" team entered
1992Did not qualify "B" team entered
1996Quarter-finals7th4112711 Squad 3300170
2000Third place3rd631296 Squad 3300190
2004Quarter-finals6th421194 Squad 6402304
2007Third place3rd614133 Squad 6321155
2011Third place3rd6420137 Squad Directly qualified
2015Runners-up2nd650182 Squad Directly qualified
2019Quarter-finals5th540162 Squad 8800270
2023To be determined 000000
as "B" team (reserve team)
1964Third place3rd3[lower-alpha 1]10224 Squad Walkover
1988"A" team entered 3[lower-alpha 2]11153
1992Did not qualify 2[lower-alpha 2]10172
Total2 titles14/17673616151066450365916423
  1. Recognized as official matches.
  2. Not recognized as official matches.

Asian Games

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
1951Did not enter
1954Silver medal2nd41211512 Squad
1958Silver medal2nd5401156 Squad
1962Silver medal2nd540195 Squad
1966Round 111th200204 Squad
1970Gold medal1st632153 Squad
1974Round 28th5113410 Squad
1978Gold medal1st7610153 Squad
1982Group stage9th310243 Squad
1986Gold medal1st6420143 Squad
1990Bronze medal3rd6501181 Squad
1994Fourth place4th6303177 Squad
1998Quarter-finals6th6402126 Squad
2002–present See South Korea national under-23 football team
Total3 titles12/13613681712863

EAFF Championship

EAFF Championship record
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad
2003Champions1st321041 Squad
2005Fourth place4th302112 Squad
2008Champions1st312054 Squad
2010Runners-up2nd320184 Squad
2013Third place3rd302112 Squad
2015Champions1st312031 Squad
2017Champions1st321073 Squad
2019Champions1st330040 Squad
Total5 titles8/824111033317

Other competitions

Year Competition Result Position GP W D L GF GA Squad
2000CONCACAF Gold Cup Group stage9th202022 Squad
2001FIFA Confederations Cup Group stage5th320136 Squad
2002CONCACAF Gold Cup Fourth place4th502337 Squad

Honours

Fourth place: 2002
Winners: 1956, 1960
Runners-up: 1972, 1980, 1988, 2015
Third place: 1964, 2000, 2007, 2011
  • Asian Games
Gold medal: 1970, 1978, 1986
Silver medal: 1954, 1958, 1962
Bronze medal: 1990
Fourth place: 1994
Fourth place: 2002
  • Afro-Asian Cup of Nations
Winners: 1987
  • EAFF Championship
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[84]
Pestabola Merdeka: 1960, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978[85]
King's Cup: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1998[86]
Jakarta Anniversary Tournament: 1981[87]
Dynasty Cup: 1990[88]
LG Cup: 2000, 2001, 2006[89]
  • 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

  • Football in South Korea
  • Korea Football Association
  • South Korea national football B team
  • South Korea national under-23 football team
  • South Korea national under-20 football team
  • South Korea national under-17 football team
  • South Korea women's national football team

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