Qualifying for the tournament in their ninth successive time, South Korea have looked strong on the long road to the 2018 World Cup. They had to seal their place in tournament through finishing high in the AFC World Cup Qualification Group, which involves all nations throughout Asia, also including countries in the United Arab Emirates, and Australia. That method of qualification is split up into two groups, where South Korea were able to finish up at second in Group A, trailing Iran by seven points but keeping a lead over Syria, who had to fight it out in the play-off place by a crucial two points.Making it so high in Group A of the Third Round was achieved through their dominance over one of eight groups in the previous stage of qualification. Back then, they showed clear superiority over Lebanon, Kuwait, Myanmar and Laos, taking all possible points through winning all eight games, scoring twenty-seven and not conceding a single goal in the process. Despite looking so reliable during the World Cup qualification process, it’s likely to be far harder for South Korea to succeed when they finally get to Russia, which is represented in their 500/1 pricing to win the tournament.
South Korea’s World Cup Group Tips
In the last eight World Cup competitions, where South Korea featured in every edition, they could only get as far as the Group Stages in six of those attempts, as well as making it to the Round of 16 back in 2010, and the Semi-Finals back in 2002. They’ll be pitted against current World Cup champions Germany, overachieving Sweden and unpredictable Mexico. It’s pretty much set in stone that Germany will reach top place, and are more than likely to go all the way in this tournament, but who finishes after them is certainly up for contention.There’s every chance Shin Tae-yong’s men will be efficient in making it as high as second in Group F, not only depending on how they perform, but also the potentially damaging form of Sweden and Mexico. Considering how unpredictable all three sides below Germany are expected to be, the most likely bet to get behind would be for South Korea to finish bottom of this group as, despite having at least two genuinely lethal players, they could easily fall short up against the other sides in Group F, who possess far more depth. South Korea’s odds to finish bottom of Group F currently have them down as favourites, priced up at odds of 1/1 with most bookmakers.
South Korea’s World Cup Preparations
The first stage of qualifying had South Korea pitted in Group G, where they surpassed any outside efforts from the other four sides to finish top. In that time, they scored a whopping twenty-seven goals in eight games played, winning in every fixture, and not conceding a single goal. Although they were expected to be as unbeatable as they were in the given group, it’s more than can be said for a lot of sides who somehow fall short in carrying out even the most straight-forward wins over weaker opponents, so it proved how efficient Shin Tae-yong’s men are.Completely smashing every side in their first group led South Korea to a solid second place position in Group A, assuring an opportunity in this World Cup. We’ve seen an array of faltering sides in preparation for this tournament, with even some of the strongest nations falling to defeats in exhibition matches being played in the run-up. South Korea have been a welcome exception from that, going unbeaten in all three of their friendlies played so far, and certain to take more experience in further friendlies with Northern Ireland and Poland in the run-up.
South Korea’s World Cup Squad
Goalscoring efforts were shared out quite fairly throughout the squad, with no single player standing out significantly in any stage of qualification, but Spurs winger Heung-Min Son being an unsurprisingly prolific member of the Taegeuk Warriors’ starting eleven. There weren’t any players who could top the scoring charts, as opposed to some of the oddly goal-friendly members of the Saudi Arabia and Iran squads, but it’s the Tottenham Hotspur forward who’s certain to be South Korea’s biggest troublemaker on opposition goals, and he’s been successful in doing that in the Premier League over the last season.Most of the South Korean players occupy their own nation’s football league, so there isn’t all too much notable talent circulating through their squad of available players. Chung-yong Lee barely makes appearances for Crystal Palace despite playing a consistent part in their Premier League squad. The only other player who could play a big part in this squad is Swansea City Ki Sung-yueng, who tends to be one of the only worthwhile members of a struggling Swans side. A lot of sharp-eyed Premier League followers will recognise Darmstadt striker Ji Dong-won, who previously had a short stint at Sunderland several seasons back.
Germany’s World Cup Fixtures
Click on the fixtures below for more up to date match information, odds and betting details.
Sweden V South Korea, Monday 18th June – Nizhny Novgorod, 1 pm
South Korea V Mexico, Saturday 23rd June – Rostov on Don, 4 pm
Germany V South Korea, Wednesday 27th June – Kazan, 3 pm