South Korea has been a dominant force in Asian soccer making every World Cup tournament since 1986. However that dominance has only transferred well on a global stage once when they co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan and finished a surprising fourth out of the thirty-two teams. Looking to build off of the success of that deep run the 2006 squad once again made it to Germany but failed to advance past the group stage. This time around South Korea once again ran through the qualifying stage with an undefeated 7-0-7 record in the final two rounds. Two rounds in which they scored twenty-two goals while ceding only seven to the competition. It is interesting that two out of their four wins in that final round came against the last place United Arab Emirates meaning that out of the remaining six games four of them were draws. When looking at the final round of the competition that the undefeated record is a bit deceiving and that if South Korea has problems scoring against the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran then goals in the World Cup may be few and far between.The leading scorers during qualifying were Ji-Sung Park and Chu-young Park who each contributed four goals a piece for the cause.
A successful tournament for South Korea seems in light of only getting past the group stage once will be advancement to the second round in South Africa. The first match will be against Greece and should be a must win game if they want a shot at getting out of the group. With Greece and its tough minded defensive tactics the game probably won’t be the most exciting game in the tournament but South Korea will need someone, perhaps one of the Park’s to step up and provide some scoring. On paper their second game against Argentina looks like a loss but anything can happen and with the South American teams inconsistency who knows what can happen on the field. I think their best bet would to be a win against Greece and then be able to tie Nigeria and hope that they get through based on goal differential. Ultimately in a difficult group I don’t think they will have enough and they will finish fourth maybe third if someone else has a bad World Cup.