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South Korea

South Korea

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Team Profile: South Korea

GettyImagesAhn Jung-Hwan scored the winner in the 2002 quarter-final with Italy

Appearances at finals:
1954 - First round
1986 - First round
1990 - First round
1994 - First round
1998 - First round
2002 - Fourth place
2006 - First round

Overall record at finals: Played 24, Won 4, Drawn 7, Lost 13.

Best performance: Fourth in 2002.

Most appearances at finals: Hong Myung-Bo (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002) - 16.

Most goals at finals: Ahn Jung-Hwan (2002, 2006) - 3.

World Cup high: Ahn Jung-Hwan's golden goal against Italy in the last 16 was the highlight of South Korea's fairytale run to the semi-finals on home soil in 2002.

World Cup low: South Korea's historic finals appearance in 1954 was over before it got going, with heavy losses to Hungary (9-0) and Turkey (7-0) sending them packing.

World Cup legend: Hong Myung-Bo played in four consecutive tournaments from 1990 to 2002, captaining the side in their World Cup on home soil and being named the third best player of that tournament.

The story so far: The South Koreans are the powerhouses of Asia when it comes to World Cups, having qualified for the past six tournaments leading into 2010, and seven in total. Qualifying for Switzerland 1954 was in itself was a solid achievement, but their campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.

South Korea struggled in all of their subsequent appearances until 2002 when the nation co-hosted the finals with Japan. Guus Hiddink worked his managerial magic as they progressed through the group stage by beating Poland and Portugal before eliminating Italy with a golden goal and then Spain on penalties in an unlikely march to the semi-finals.

Qualification: South Korea qualified comfortably through the tougher of two final groups in the Asian zone, confirming their status as a true heavyweight of the confederation alongside emerging Japan and new arrivals Australia. Having come through the previous group with neighbours North Korea undefeated, they remained unbeaten through the final round, beating traditional qualifiers Saudi Arabia away and conceding just four goals in eight games. Coach Huh Jung-Moo will be the first local to guide the team to the finals since 1998.

Qualifying record (final group stage): P8, W4, D4, L0, F12, A4, Pts16.

Most appearances: Lee Chung-Yong, Lee Keun-Ho, Kim Dong-Jin, Ki Sung-Yeung, Park Ji-Sung (7).

Top goalscorer: Lee Keun-Ho, Park Ji-Sung (3).