Group E: South Korea      Castellano   Page 2

Argentina  2

Austria  2

Belgium  2

Brazil  2

Bulgaria  2

Cameroon  2

Chile  2

Colombia  2

Croatia  2

Denmark  2

England  2

France  2

Germany  2

Iran  2

Italy  2

Jamaica  2

Japan  2

México  2

Morocco  2

Netherlands  2

Nigeria  2

Norway  2

Paraguay  2

Romania  2

Saudi Arabia  2

Scotland  2

South Africa 2

South Korea

Spain  2

Tunisia  2

United States  2

Yugoslavia  2

  Korea Football Association   

Coach: Bum-kun CHA 

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vs. MEXICO

13.06.98 Lyon

vs. HOLLAND

20.06.98 Marseille

vs. BELGIUM

25.06.98 Paris

Team Colors: Red shirt, Black pants

Confederation: AFC

Asian Cup winners in 1956, 1960 runners-up in 1972, 1980 and 1988

Asian Games football winners in 1978 and 1986

World Cup record: Four previous finals - 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994.

Key players: GK Byung-ki Jim (Cheetas),

D Myung-bo Hong (Bellmare Hiratsuka, J-League),

F Young-su Choi (Chinbuk Dinos).

Previous appearances: 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994.

Myung-bo Hong

Keep an Eye on: Hong Myung-bo : A defender called up by Fifa to play for the Rest of the World.

Ko Jong-so: A little-known teenage midfield prodigy of whom great things are expected, if he is fit to play.

Choi Young-su: The biggest name in Korean football, a prolific goalscorer. Leading scorer in 1998 qualification with 8.

Analysis: Hard-working and athletic, South Korea is the dominant team in Asia and acquitted itself well in '94 though it did not advance.

History: Though there is no official record of when football was first played in South Korea, experts believe British marines brought the sport to the Korean peninsula around 1880. There are no traces of the game until Korea's annexation by Japan in 1910. The first known soccer team was formed in 1920. College sides then followed, and inter-city matches were staged, which along with games against Japanese sides, became increasingly popular.

The South Korean Football Association was established in 1928, but was disbanded by Japanese colonial rulers in 1938 (South Korean players were allowed into the Japanese national squad from 1936). After the liberation in 1945, the association was restarted and joined FIFA in 1948 and the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. South Korea is proud to have had more appearances at the World Cup finals than any other Asian nation , France 98 will be their fifth since 1954. But they have not had an easy time on the international stage. They have never got past the first round at any finals. In Switzerland in 1954, they were beaten 9-0 by a Ferenc Puskas-led Hungary and then 7-0 by Turkey. They managed a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria at Mexico in 1986 but at Italia '90 they lost all three games. Their USA '94 appearance saw a heroic performance when they were drawing 2-2 with Germany, but eventually went down 3-2. They drew 2-2 with Spain and 0-0 with Bolivia. The aim in France is to beat North Korea's record of being the only Asian side to reach the World Cup quarter-finals (in England in 1966).

Always fast, ever industrious and much taller than many imagine, the Koreans qualified for their third successive World Cup finals with three games to spare. This is no surprise to those who have seen the country, North and South, where goalposts or makeshift goals occupy every spare plot of land.

The draw has been unkind, but Cha Bum-kun, who made the grade in the German Bundesliga, knows what he is doing with South Korea's products of universities and factories system that established professional football in the country 14 years ago.

Samsung believes it has produced the best player in the country, Ko Jong-so, a slender midfield playmaker who, at 19, a slender reed of a lad, is being nursed back to fitness after having a knee reconstructed in Germany last July. Ko is a veteran of nine years in the Korean football system, dedicated to train three times daily, no girlfriends, no alcohol and no over-eating. "Girls can come later," he says. Hopefully, he will make it to France. Hong Myung-bo, a defender selected for the Rest of the World squad to play Europe in Marseilles, will be there and, barring mishap, Choi Young-su , tall and slender, fast and bright, will lead the attack. Choi wears the No 10 shirt because Koreans respect the Brazilian tradition of putting that shirt on the player who makes the team tick. Now 24, he graduated from Yonsei University and blossomed from the promise of the 1993 World Youth Cup side in Australia to become a forward with a rapacious shot and an eye for long-distance scoring.

POSITION NAME AGE CAPS

G Byung-Ji Kim 28 7

G Bong-soo Kim 27 14  

D Young-il Choi 31 45

D Dai-il Jang 22 6

D Tae-young Kim 27 24

D Min-sung Lee 24 17

D Jin-chul Choi 26 1

D Myung-bo Hong 28 93  

D Hyung-Seok Jang 25 4

M Sang-chul Yoo 26 42

M Tae-ha Park 29 10

M Seok-ju Ha 29 80

M Ki-hyung Lee 23 27

M Sang-rae Roh 27 25

M San-yoon Lee 28 17

M Sung-yong Choi 22 14

M Ki-Dong Kim 25 3

M Dae-eui Kim 23 2

F Kun-ha Park 26 18  

F Yong-su Choi 24 18

F Do-hoon Kim 27 33

F Jung-won Seo 27 72

F Jung-woon Ko 31 76

Links:

FIFA     CnnSi     ESPN

Soccernet   WorldMedia

Yong-su Choi

 
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