The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be South Korea's 10th consecutive appearance at the tournament, and the 11th overall. No Asian team has qualified for the World Cup more times. The team, managed by former Portugal and Sporting CP manager Paulo Bento, have a quality group of players that, if the circumstances are right, may stun everyone.
South Korea were ranked 57th in the world when manager Paulo Bento took over in August 2018. ‘ The Taeguk Warriors' as they are coined, are now ranked 28th, their highest ranking since 2012. During Bento's tenure, South Korea successfully defended their Asian Games title in 2018, defeated elite opponents like Colombia, Egypt, and Chile, and breezed through the World Cup qualification process, with just one defeat in 17 matches.
South Korea were unable to advance from their World Cup group at the previous tournament after losing their first two matches to Mexico and Sweden. However, in their 3rd match, they managed to pull off ‘The Miracle Of Kazan' as they defeated defending champions Germany in one of the most shocking upsets in World Cup history to eventually finish in 3rd place. They will compete against Ghana, Portugal, and Uruguay in Group H this year.
- 1 South Korea's 2022 World Cup Squad
- 2 Key Players To Watch In South Korea’s World Cup Squad
- 3 South Korea’s World Cup Prediction And Selected Betting Odds
- 4 South Korea World Cup Predictions
- 5 South Korea at the 2022 World Cup
- 6 FAQs on the South Korea World Cup Squad
South Korea's 2022 World Cup Squad
South Korea are led by their talismanic captain Son Heung-Min. Widely regarded as one of the most clinical forwards in the Premier League, Son won the Golden Boot for Tottenham Hotspurs last season, and was expected to be one of the stars of the upcoming World Cup. However, a brutal injury in a recently concluded Champions League tie left him with a bruised eye and a painfully swollen jaw. This freak injury led to an emergency eye surgery with just 2 weeks to go for the tournament to begin in Qatar, and he now faces a race against time to be fit in time for the group stage.
While South Korea are understandably sweating over the fitness of their captain, they have an abundance of quality players starring for some of the top teams in Europe this season. Min-jae Kim, who plays as a center back, has earned high praise for his performances at Napoli, where he has displayed excellent ball-playing and defensive skills. He is the most crucial player in defence for the team. They have In-beom Hwang of Olympiacos available in midfield, but Woo-young Jung, a holding midfielder for Al Saad who has trained under Xavi and Juanma Lillo, could also be considered. Woo-Young should have the expertise to enforce the midfield during quick transitions.
Kim Seung-gyu is expected to be Bento's first pick among the goalkeepers. The veteran keeper is a mainstay for Al-Shabab and has been in excellent form in the Saudi top flight.
- Kim Seung-gyu – Al-Shabab
- Jo Hyeon-woo – Ulsan Hyundai
- Song Bum-keun – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Jo Hyeon-woo, who has demonstrated consistency with Ulsan Hyundai, is another candidate for the starting spot. Another keeper who has previously excelled with the U-23 squad is Song Bum-keun.
Bento prefers to use a traditional 4-man backline for his defence.
While the majority of South Korea’s defence is dominated by K-League stars, his season Min-jae Kim has amazed Europe with his brilliant performances for Napoli, who are flying at the top of the Serie A standings. His aerial ability helps him to chip in with crucial goals as well and he is the first name on the team sheet in central defence.
- Kim Jin-su – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
- Hong Chul – Daegu FC
- Kim Moon-hwan – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
- Kim Young-gwon – Ulsan Hyundai
- Kwon Kyung-won – Gamba Osaka
- Kim Tae-hwan – Ulsan Hyundai
- Cho Yu-min – Daejon Hana Citizen
- Kim Min-jae – Napoli
- Yoon Jong-gyu – FC Seoul
Kim Young-gwon, one of their most experienced players with almost 100 international caps, will line-up next to Min-jae Kim in central defence. Kim Jin-Su should be the automatic pick at left back, but his dominance will be tested by another veteran, Daegu FC's Chul Hong.
Among the right backs, the two contenders are Kim Moon-hwan and Kim Tae-Hwan, and Bento will have a selection headache choosing between the two due to their good run of form in the K League.
The Taegeuk Warriors have a strong midfield with a good mix of youth and experience.
Hwang In-beom is a reliable presence in central midfield, capable of breaking down opposing assaults and regaining possession. He is nicely complimented by Lee Jae-Sung of FSV Mainz, who exudes confidence on the ball and likes to dictate the speed of the game.
- Jung Woo-young – Al-Sadd
- Lee Jae-sung – Mainz
- Hwang In-beom – Olympiacos
- Paik Seung-ho – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
- Na Sang-ho – Seoul
- Son Jun-ho – Shandong Taishan
- Lee Kang-in – Mallorca
- Kwon Chang-hoon – Gimcheon Sangmu
- Song Min-kyu – Jeonbuk Hyundai
Paik Seung-Ho of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is another talent with the capacity to produce on the largest stage. Lee Kang-in of Mallorca, who is also a possibility for a midfield spot, adds to Bento's selection dilemma.
Attack is where South Korea have an edge over most Asian nations. Several attackers are currently playing for big clubs in Europe and their collective experience will be crucial.
- Son Heung-min – Tottenham
- Hwang Ui-jo – Olympiacos
- Cho Gue-sung – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
- Hwang Hee-chan – Wolves
- Jeong Woo-yeong – Freiburg
Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur is undoubtedly South Korea's greatest hope, and his performance in Qatar will be crucial. Bento will be praying to have his captain fit in time.
Hwang Ui-jo and Hwang Hee-chan will provide considerable support for their captain on the flanks. Hee-Chan plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, and his expertise will be valuable to Bento's side.
Freiburg's Jeong Woo-yeong, who has played regularly in the Bundesliga, will also be vying for a starting spot, especially if Son is deemed unfit for the first game.
Key Players To Watch In South Korea’s World Cup Squad
While South Korea have an abundance of talent plying their trade in some big clubs in Europe, their two most high-profile players are undoubtedly Heung Min-Son and Kim Min-jae.
South Korea’s talismanic captain is still an injury doubt, at least for the first couple of matches in the group stage due to a recent eye surgery after an injury. He is undoubtedly the most high-profile Asian footballer in the world currently, and can also stake a claim to be the best player ever to emerge from Asia.
The Tottenham Hotspurs forward is an incredibly clinical finisher and won the Golden Boot with 22 goals in the 2021/22 Premier League season. He has won the Tottenham Player Of The Year award 3 times already, and his partnership with England captain Harry Kane in attack is considered as one of the best ever in Premier League history. Bento will be hoping to have Son back in full form as soon as possible as that is crucial for South Korea to have any change of progressing from a tricky group.
Min-Jae has been in excellent form of late, starring for a Napoli side that is leading the Serie A table and also topped a tough UCL group above Liverpool. He is seen as a complete defender with brilliant aerial skills, and also the capability to score crucial goals.
His underlying stats are also very solid with with 12.96 recoveries per 90 minutes and 6.02 aerial duels per 90 minutes, with almost a 60% success rate in those. He is also crucial for South Korea’s attacking buildup play from the back, with an average of 25 forward passes per 90 minutes.
South Korea’s World Cup Prediction And Selected Betting Odds
South Korea have been pitted in a tricky Group H with Ghana, Portugal and Uruguay. It is certainly a difficult group and they would be praying Son Heung-Min is available to start from the first game itself. We predict a third place finish in this group for South Korea, unless they can pull off a big upset over one of the two heavyweights in the group – Portugal and Uruguay.
Let’s have a look at their chances of qualifying as well as winning their group from a betting perspective with odds provided by Betfred.
South Korea To Qualify To The Knockout Round – 5/2 (3.50)
South Korea last advanced to the round of 16 in 2010, and they have only won one of their past six World Cup games. Nonetheless, we feel they should add at least another win to that list in Qatar. They are currently the third favourites to qualify from their group after Uruguay and Portugal, with Ghana the favourites to finish 4th.
South Korea To Win Their Group – 10/1 (11.00)
South Korea have never won their World Cup group before, and would need a miracle to change that in Qatar. Portugal are heavy favourites to win Group H, followed by Uruguay. South Korea are the underdogs with odds of 10/1 (11.00) to win their group. Primarily they need Son to be back with full fitness and form to have any chance of this miracle to happen.
South Korea To Win The World Cup – 300/1 (301.00)
South Korea have next to impossible odds of 301 to be the tournament winners, but after Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2016 with odds of 5000/1, nothing should ever be considered impossible in football!
South Korea World Cup Predictions
We mentioned the odds for South Korea for some of their possible outcomes, but let's take a closer look now at our predictions for this team in Qatar:
South Korea to Finish Third in Group H
South Korea Over 2.5 Total Goals
South Korea to Finish Third in Group H
While we rate the South Korean national team highly, their group is not an easy one and we can't see them finishing ahead of Portugal or Uruguay. Still, we can see them getting third place in front of Ghana.
South Korea Over 2.5 Total Goals
We feel that South Korea has a good enough team to score even in some of the games they lose. And since we also expect them to beat Ghana, we can see South Korea scoring at least three goals in Qatar.
South Korea at the 2022 World Cup
The Tigers of Asia started their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Uruguay. La Celeste tried to boss the South Koreans but could not find a way around their defence which denied them a shot at the target. However, manager Paulo Bento will not be pleased with their own dismal creativity. Akin to their rivals, they failed to create a meaningful opportunity and will have to give a better account against Ghana on Matchday 2.
Here is how Group H looks after one game:
|Team||Matches Played||Points||Goals For||Goals Against|
|3. South Korea||1||1||0||0|
FAQs on the South Korea World Cup Squad
When will the final squad be announced?
The final squad was already announced for South Korea by their head coach.
Are there any players that particularly stand out from your picks?
The likes of Son Heung-Min, if he is ready to play, and Kim Min-Jae should lead the team in Qatar.
How many players were named in South Korea's World Cup squad?
26 players were selected in South Korea's squad for the World Cup.
What are South Korea's chances of winning the World Cup with this squad?
As things stand, South Korea doesn't have a huge chance to win the world cup, with odds on them ranging from 200/1 (201.00) to 300/1 (301.00).