Korea Republic Team Fact Box

2010-05-11 16:12

Previous appearances in finals: 7

Nickname:    
Taegeuk Jeonsa (Taegeuk Warriors) 
Tigers of Asia
Red Devils

Best performance: 4th (2002)

Coach: Huh Jung-moo. Huh's third stint as South Korea coach has been his most impressive, with the team going 27 games unbeaten until a recent friendly defeat to Serbia. Accepted the job after the Korea federation failed to entice a high-profile coach from Europe. Unlike previous South Korean coaches, Huh has relied less on veteran players and put his faith in emerging talent.

Captain:
Park Ji-sung

Key players:

Park Ji-sung
Age: 28
Position: Midfielder
Club: Manchester United
FIFA World Cup Final appearances: 10 (2002, 2006)
Goals: 2

South Korean skipper Park burst on to the world stage in 2002 and has gone from strength to strength since joining Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2005. Nicknamed "Three-lunged Park", he has boundless energy and terrier-like tenacity.

Park Chu-young
Age: 24
Position: Forward
Club: Monaco
FIFA World Cup Final appearances: 1 (2006)
Goals: 0

At one time deemed too frail to make the grade, Park has blossomed in French soccer. Dead ball specialist with blinding pace, Park has 13 goals in 38 appearances for the national team.

Lee Woon-jae
Age: 36
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Suwon

Known as 'Spider Hands,' Lee broke Spanish hearts in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals with a string of remarkable saves. Excellent shot stopper and few better in penalty shootouts.

FIFA world ranking May 2010: 49

How they qualified: Gained one of Asia's four automatic berths by finishing top of Group Two in the final phase of qualifying. Emerged unbeaten from the group, which included neighbours North Korea as well as traditional Middle East powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia, but were held to four draws along the way.

Prospects: Finally emerging from the shadow of their sensational semi-final run on home soil in 2002, South Korea have a number of players impressing in Europe again and should have the quality to advance past the first round. Skipper Park Ji-sung's influence will be crucial if the young squad are to do well on the biggest stage.


Enigmatic captain Park Ji-sung is an instrumental force in the Korean Republic's lineup. (AFP)

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