In our South Korea Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this South Korea team. On this team, Tottenham Hotspur’ Son Heung-min is set to lead South Korea’s golden generation into the tournament in Russia.

South Korea Preview: World Cup 2018

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Jo Hyeon-Woo, Kim Jin-Hyeon, Kim Seung-Gyu,

Defenders: Oh Ban-Suk, Park Joo-Ho, Chul Hong, jang Hyun-Soo, Kim Min-Woo, Jung Seung-Hyun, Go Yo-Han, Lee Yong, Kim Young-Gwon, Yun Young-Sun,

Midfielders: Koo Ja-Cheol, Lee Jae-Sung, Ju Se-Jong, Moon Seon-Min, Lee Seung-Woo, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jung Woo-Young

Forwards: Hwang Hee-Chan, Son Heung-Min, Kim Shin-Wook

  • Manager: Shin Tae-yong
  • Captain: Ki Sung-yueng
  • Best Finish: Fourth (2002)

Likely starting lineup

South Korea Preview: World Cup 2018

Analysis

Finding consistency in terms of personnel and tactics has been a big issue for Shin ahead of South Korea’s ninth World Cup in succession.

While qualification for the tournament was relatively straightforward, the manager has sought to push the team on with a number of different alterations, tinkering with a three-man defence and the role of star man Son Heung-min. The results have been mixed to say the least.

Although they comfortably beat Honduras in their first warmup match the 2002 semi-finalists have struggled since. Games against Bosnia-Herzegovina—a 3-1 loss—and Bolivia—a 0-0 draw—have posed more questions than answers as the tournament creeps into view.

The traits that have defined South Korean teams remain present in this squad, as they’ll play with a spirit and energy to match the best at the tournament. They’re arguably more reliant on individuals this summer than at any point since their memorable performance as host nation 16 years ago.

In Son, they arguably have the best player in the group outside the Germany squad, while skipper Ki can still be influential in midfield. Shin has played with the position of both men, though, so it’s uncertain where they will line up when the team takes to the field against Sweden for their Group F opener.

In terms of non-household names, fans of European and American football should look out for Lee Jae-sung, who has scored 21 goals in the last two K-League seasons from midfield. Hwang Hee-chan is set to partner Son in attack after showing glimpses of real quality for Red Bull Salzburg last season too.

Even so, this side is lacking in quality in a lot of areas, especially in the defensive positions. Against strong attacking outfits like Mexico and Germany, this could be hard work for the South Koreans.

 

Key Man – Son Heung-min

South Korea Preview: World Cup 2018

In 2017-18 Son went from the 12th man at Spurs—the player Mauricio Pochettino would tend to turn to first when things aren’t going well—into a bonafide starter for one of the best teams in the division.

Although the forward is still something of a streaky player, when he is in one of his purple matches he has a habit of making defenders look foolish.

Son has so many different attributes. He’s got pace, quick feet and is relentless in the way he approaches the game in terms of his dribbling and pressing. Son is also adept on either foot, making him almost impossible to read in one-on-one situations.

For Shin, the big decision is where to field Son, as his versatility means he can be so influential in a number of different roles. Based on the pre-World Cup encounters, he’s most likely to play through the middle in support of Hwang.

From there Son should be able to get on the ball a lot, link play and burst in behind. If he can sprinkle his stardust from there, the Tottenham man is the type of footballer whose brilliance and application can be infectious. South Korea will need a lot of that to progress.

 

South Korea’s Group Stage fixtures

Monday, June 18

Sweden vs. South Korea, 8am, FS1, Telemundo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

Saturday, June 23

South Korea vs. Mexico, 11am, FOX, Telemundo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

Wednesday, June 27

South Korea vs. Germany, 10am, FS1, Universo, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

 

South Korea’s path to the final

If South Korea wins Group F, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group E which will either be Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia or Switzerland. If South Korea wins that Round of 16 game, South Korea will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group H (Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan) and the team that finishes second in Group G (either England, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia). If South Korea advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the B1 vs. A2 versus D1 vs. C2 series.

If South Korea finishes second in Group F, South Korea will play the team that finishes first in Group E (either Costa Rica, Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia). If South Korea wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group G (either England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia) and the team that finishes second in Group H (either Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan). If South Korea advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the A1 vs. B2 versus C1 vs. D2 series.

 

SEE MORE:

• Previews for all 32 World Cup teams
• World Cup Bracket (free download)
• World Cup groups
• World Cup TV schedule

 

South Korea World Cup shirt (home)

Participants at every World Cup since 1986, South Korea returns with a talented squad led by Tottenham’s Son Heung-min. Show your pride in the Asian Tigers.

The home jersey is in traditional red. A white strip on the back collar includes the yin-yang image of balance, taken from the flag.

See more details about South Korea World Cup shirt

 

South Korea World Cup shirt (away)

The Tae Geuk wave graphic, inspired by the national flag and a tiger pattern, covers the front panel. A strip on the back collar includes the yin-yang image of balance, also taken from the flag.

See more details about South Korea World Cup shirt

 

If you have any questions about the South Korea Preview: World Cup 2018, please let us know in the comments section below.