South Korea has not missed a World Cup finals since 1986, but before that they qualified only in 1950. The biggest success of South Korea was reaching the semifinals at the 2002 World Cup in their own country (together with Japan) under coach Guus Hiddink. In the end, there was a 4th place there. In 2010 they reached the round of 16 in South Africa.
All other tournaments ended after the preliminary round. In 2018 in Russia, the unexpected victory over defending champions Germany caused a sensation but was ultimately not enough for the round of 16.
The road to qualification
South Korea was seeded in the first qualifying round. They then faced Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon and North Korea. The latter withdrew from the competition due to the pandemic and all of their completed matches were dropped from the standings. South Korea picked up 5 wins from 6 matches, conceding just one goal.
In the main round, they then faced Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria and again Lebanon. South Korea won the direct qualification by a large margin. They won 7 of their 10 matches and only lost the final match 1-0 against the United Arab Emirates.
They finished second in their qualifying group behind Saudi Arabia.
The head and absolute top star of the team is Heung-Min Son (Tottenham Hotspur). The whole game is tailored to the player, who played in the youth of Hamburger SV. No one else comes close to his level.
However, attacking midfielder Jae-Sung Lee has established himself in the Bundesliga with Mainz 05 and center forward Ui-Jo Hwang of Girondins Bordeaux has been convincing as a goal scorer. They are joined by SC Freiburg winger Woo-Yeong Jeong and Napoli center-back Min-Jae Kim.
Portuguese Paulo Bento took over after the 2018 World Cup in South Korea. He previously gained experience as a national coach with Portugal, with whom, however, he was eliminated in the preliminary round at the 2014 World Cup.
With South Korea, Bento played 50 games, scoring an average of 2.14. His preferred system of play is a 4-2-3-1.
Hyeon-Woo Jo (Ulsan Hyundai) – Young-Woo Seol (Ulsan Hyundai), Min-Jae Kim (SSC Napoli), Hyun-Soo Jang (Al-Hilal), Chul Hong (Daegu FC) – In-Beom Hwang (Olympiakos Piraeus), Woo-Young Jung (Al-Sadd) – Heung-Min Son (Tottenham Hotspurs), Jae-Sung-Lee (Mainz 05), Woo-Yeong Jeong (SC Freiburg) – Ui-Jo Hwang (Girondins Bordeaux)
World Cup 2022
At the 2022 World Cup, South Korea will play in Group G along with Portugal, Ghana and Uruguay. Although South Korea has one of the world’s best strikers in Heung-Min Son, that’s not enough to compete at such a high level.
Of course, there can always be surprise victories like the one South Korea pulled off against Germany in 2018. Ultimately, however, all of their opponents in Qatar are much more advanced in terms of quality than South Korea.
It is therefore safe to assume that Paulo Bento’s team will not advance beyond the preliminary round.
- Qualification for the round of 16 – 3.25
- No qualification for the round of 16 – 1.33
- Qualification for the quarter-finals – 11.00
- Qualification for semifinals – 34,00
- World champion – 251,00
Odds from bet365. Odds represent a snapshot and may change at any time. Odds without guarantee.
Other teams in Group H: