Few soccer fans can ever forget South Korea’s magical run at the 2002 World Cup. As co-hosts with Japan, South Korea automatically qualified for the tournament and proceeded to wreak havoc on analysts’ predictions. South Korea sent Portugal crashing out of the tournament in the last game of the Group Stage and then beat Italy and Spain in extra time to get to the semifinals. The magic ended there, but the nation was feverish with soccer madness after snagging fourth place.
South Korea has not had much to cheer for at the World Cup aside from that though. While Korea has continually been at the World Cup, leading the Asian nations with 10 appearances and nine straight trips to the tournament, the country has only made it out of the Group Stage twice and has a total of nine wins in 31 matches. They will be behind the eight ball in this group as well.
Date and Time: June 14, 2018 – July 15, 2018
FIFA 2018 World Cup TV Coverage: FOX, FS1, FS2
Korea Republic vs. Sweden - Monday, June 18, 2018, 8 a.m. ET, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod
Korea Republic vs. Mexico - Saturday, June 23, 2018, 11 a.m. ET, Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don
Korea Republic vs. Germany - Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 10 a.m. ET, Kazan Arena in Kazan
South Korea did not perform well during qualifying. They finished with the fifth most points in Asia and nearly had to face off against Australia in a playoff in order to get back to the World Cup.
Since then, things haven’t gone much better. South Korea did notch a nice win over Japan, but losses to Northern Ireland and Poland, as well as a draw with Jamaica, do not inspire confidence.
Although South Korea does not have a great defense, goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu has been solid since taking over for Jung Sung-ryong as the first-choice keeper. Seung-gyu grabbed the No. 1 shirt after a couple shaky outings from Sung-ryong at the 2014 World Cup and has not looked back since. He helped lead the team to a win at the Asian Games and had some big saves. He should play well here.
So much of South Korea’s success will depend on Son Heung-min. The Tottenham midfielder has really stepped up big in Harry Kane’s absence and has proved that he can take over matches. His versatility makes him a weapon as he can be deployed in numerous ways in order to attack defenses.
Heung-min averages around a goal every three matches for both South Korea and Tottenham. He has been very consistent over the course of his career and is in his prime at this point. The team is going to lean heavily on him as there aren’t many other clear goal scoring options.
Outside of perhaps the Olympics, the World Cup is the most galvanizing sporting event in the world. A total of 32 teams from around the globe will come together in Russia for the 2018 edition of the world's greatest tournament. The beautiful game gives a chance to every country to shine internationally, but in the end, only the strongest always seem to manage to survive.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final Draw group bracketing for the 32 teams participating for this years FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil. Bet on your team bracket and match-up, and see how teams move from bottom to top or from top to bottom as the game goes on.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
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