We’ve looked back at the history of the Japan national side and how they’ve gone from no World Cups to 6 in a row but now it’s a chance to look at the other East Asian side going to Russia, South Korea. They are the most successful side in Asia and unlike Japan have had a strong international side since the 1960s. When they travel to Russia this summer it will be their 9th World Cup in a row and their tenth in total. When you consider the countries and players missing out this summer that’s some impressive record.
South Korea doesn’t just turn up at World Cups to make up the numbers either. Back in 2002 when they co-hosted the World Cup they reached the Semifinal.
Their 2002 campaign wasn’t a quiet one from beating Portugal in their group, to beating Italy in controversial circumstances and then winning on penalties against Spain before eventually going out to Germany 1-0 in a World Cup semi-final. The story goes on but that is for another time.
Back to 2017 how are they looking as they prepare for Russia 2018? South Korea is now ranked 59th in the world, not overly inspiring I know when going into a World Cup year. They have also only won twice in their last ten. They did finish second in the group behind Iran which was enough to qualify.
How could they do at the World Cup? After a pretty uninspiring qualification campaign, you would say it will be pretty tough for them. However with Ki Sung-Yueng of Swansea and Son Heung-Min of Spurs a player considered as one of the best in Asia they have the quality to cause teams problems.