South Korea World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

South Korea have been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup

South Korea vs Germany (27th June) Match Report

Match preview here.

South Korea Starting XI: 23 Cho Hyun-woo, 2 Lee Yong, 5 Yun Young-sun, 7 Son Heung-min, 13 Koo Ja-cheol (11 Hwang Hee-chan 56; 22 Go Jo-han 79), 14 Hong Chul, 15 Jung Woo-young, 17 Lee Jae-sung, 18 Moon Seon-min (8 Ju Se-Jong 69), 19 Kim Young-gwon, 20 Jang Hyun-soo

Germany Starting XI: 1 Manuel Neuer, 3 Jonas Hector (20 Julian Brandt 78), 5 Mats Hummels, 6 Sami Khedira (23 Mario Gomez 58), 8 Toni Kroos, 9 Timo Werner, 10 Mesut Ozil, 11 Marco Reus, 14 Leon Goretzka (13 Thomas Muller 63), 15 Niklas Sule, 18 Joshua Kimmich


South Korea 2 Germany 0


South Korea: Kim Young-gwon 90+2, Son 90+6

Germany 0

Match overview

Defending champions Germany crashed out of the knockout stage for the first time in the modern era. Needing to beat already-eliminated South Korea, Joachim Low’s side conceded two stoppage-time goals in humiliating fashion to leave them bottom of the group.

Korea’s deep defence and aggressive organisation restricted Germany’s movement and opportunities in the first half but after the break and on the brink of elimination, Germany pushed forward for what seemed like the inevitable goal. Keeper Cho saved brilliantly from Leon Goretzka’s header, Timo Werner’s volley missed the target, substitute Mario Gomez headed wide and Mats Hummels, unmarked six yards out, headed over.

In stoppage time Korea hit on the break through Kim Young-gwon’s VAR- confirmed goal. Germany’s humiliation was complete when, in the 96th minute and in comical circumstances, with Manuel Neuer pushed up in attack, Son scored a second to spark jubilant Korean celebrations.

Matter of fact

It was the first time since 1938 that Germany failed to progress from the group stages.

Talking point

Germany coach Joachim Low again made changes to his starting team, dropping Thomas Muller, giving Leon Goretzka a first start and surprisingly bringing Sami Khedira back in. The changes had little effect and probably contributed to Germany’s lethargy and lack of cohesion.


South Korea/Germany

Possession (%): 30/70

Goal attempts: 11/26

Attempts on target: 5/11

Corners: 3/9

Fouls: 16/7

Pass accuracy (%): 74/88

Distance covered (km): 118/115

South Korea vs Mexico (23rd June) Match Report

Match preview here. 

South Korea Starting XI: 23 Choo Hyun-woo, 2 Lee Yong, 7 Son Heung-min, 8 Ju Se-jong (10 Lee Seung-woo 64), 11 Hwang Hee-chan, 12 Kim Min-woo (14 Hong Chul 84), 16 Ki Sung-yeung, 17 Lee Jae-sung, 18 Moon Seon-min (15 Jung Woo-young 77), 19 Kim Young-gwon, 20 Jang Hyun-soo

Mexico Starting XI: 13 Guillermo Ochoa, 3 Carlos Salcedo, 7 Miguel Layun, 11 Carlos Vela (10 Giovani Dos Santos 77), 14 Javier Hernandez, 15 Hector Moreno, 16 Hector Herrera, 18 Andred Guardado (4 Rafael Marquez 68), 21 Edson Alvarez, 22 Hirving Lozano (11 Jesus Corona 71), 23 Jesus Gallardo


South Korea 1 Mexico 2


South Korea: Son 90+3

Mexico: Vela 26, Hernandez 66

Match overview

Mexico reached the knockout stage for the seventh successive World Cup with a victory that sent South Korea out at the group stage.  

Mexico enjoyed greater possession than in their opening victory against Germanty and made good use of their superiority, wth clever movement between the attacking triumvirate of Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez and Hirving Lozano.

South Korea rallied late in the game. Son Heung-ming should have scored after a defensive mix-up between Rafel Marquez and Guillermo Ochoa but then scored a wonderful late consolation goal.

Matter of fact

Mexico’s opening goal was the 14th penalty of the tournament, one more than the 13 at the entire 2014 finals.

Talking point

South Korea claimed Ki Sung-yeung was fouled in the build-up to Mexico’s second goal, but Mexico were able to launch a swift counter-attack through Lozano. 


South Korea/Mexico

Possession (%): 41/59

Goal attempts: 17/13

Attempts on target: 2/6

Corners: 7/5

Fouls: 24/7

Pass accuracy (%): 82/89

Distance covered (km): 99/97

South Korea vs Sweden (18th June) Match Report

After a tough qualifying campaign and some poor results in the World Cup friendlies, South Korea face Sweden in their opening game of the tournament. Match Preview here

South Korea Starting XI: 23 Cho Hyun-woo, 2 Lee Yong, 6 Park Joo-ho (12 Kim Min-woo 28), 7 Son Heung-min, 9 Kim Shin-wook (15 Jung Woo-young 66), 11 Hwang Hee-chan, 13 Koo Ja-cheol (10 Lee Seung-woo 73), 16 Ki Sung-yueng, 17 Lee Jae-sung, 19 Kim Young-gwon, 20 Jang Hyun-soo

Sweden Starting XI: 1 Robin Olsen, 2 Mikael Lustig, 4 Andreas Granqvist, 6 Ludwig Augustinsson, 7 Sebastian Larsson (13 Gustav Svensson 81) , 8 Albin Ekdal (15 Oscar Hijlemark 71), 9 Marcus Berg, 10 Emil Forsberg, 17 Viktor Claesson, 18 Pontus Jansson, 20 Ola Toivonen (22 Isaac Kiese Thelin 77)

Niznhy Novgorod

Sweden 1 South Korea 0


Sweden: Granqvist 65pen

South Korea: none

Match overview

Sweden won their opening game for the first time since 1958 after edging out South Korea thanks to Andreas Granqvist’s VAR-awarded penalty in the second half.

The Swedes had fashioned the better chances in the first half but lacked a cutting edge as they tried to find a way past Korea’s third-choice keeper Cho Hyun-woo. 

Granqvist, the Swedish captain, dispatched the spot-kick in confident fashion and it was fitting that a defender scored the only goal of such a tight game.

Young substitute Lee Seung-woo gave Korea a lift in the final quarter but they failed to unlock a Swedish defence that was missing Victor Lindelof, a late withdrawal with a virus

Matter of fact

This was the 100th World Cup match featuring an Asian side. 

Talking point

VAR was used to award the game’s only goal. The referee had a clear view of what was an obvious penalty, prompting suggestions and concerns that he had ducked out of the decision, preferring to rely on the VAR calling back the decision.  


Sweden/South Korea

Possession (%): 52/48

Goal attempts: 15/5

Attempts on target: 5/2

Corners: 6/5

Fouls: 20/23

Pass accuracy (%): 84/78

Distance covered (km): 102/103

South Korea World Cup Guide

South Korea qualified for the 2018 World Cup, but that is about the only positive thing that can be said about the final round of the campaign. In their 10 games the Taeguk Warriors won just four and picked up a single point in five games on the road. That they qualified says as much about the failings of others as it does about Korea.

Key Moments in Qualifying

Nov 2016
Koo Ja-cheol scores with five minutes left to give Korea, smarting from defeat by Iran, a come-from-behind win against Uzbekistan.
Mar 2017
There is massive pressure on coach Uli Stielike after Korea lose in China – a first competitive defeat against their neighbours.
Jun 2017
Stielike is fired after Korea lose 3-2 to bottom team Qatar, in which serious injuries to Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yeung make matters worse.
Sep 2017
Under new coach Shin Tae-yong, Korea have to win in Uzbekistan, but they draw 0-0. The players wait on pitch for news that Syria haven’t won in Iran before the celebrations can begin.

South Korea World Cup Group

South Korea are the final team in Group alongside Germany, Mexico, and Sweden.

South Korea World Cup Friendlies

South Korea played several friendlies at the start of 2018. First, they beat Moldova, and then drew with Jamaica at the end of January. Then on the 3rd of February they beat Latvia. On March 24th they then lost to Northern Ireland 2-1, and Poland 3-2. Then in May and June they beat Honduras, lost to Bosnia-Herzegovina, drew with Bolivia, and then lost to Senegal on the 11th.

  • 27th January – Moldova (won 1-0)
  • 30th January – Jamaica (drew 2-2)
  • 3rd February – Latvia (won 1-0)
  • 24th March – Northern Ireland (lost 2-1)
  • 28th March – Poland (lost 3-2)
  • 28th May – Honduras (won 2-0)
  • 1st June – Bosnia-Herzegovina (lost 3-1)
  • 7th June – Bolivia (drew 0-0)
  • 11th June – Senegal (lost 2-0)

South Korea World Cup Fixtures

South Korea kick off their World Cup against Sweden on the 18th of June, followed by Mexico five days later. They then play against Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Germany on the 27th.

The Coach

Shin Tae-yong, age 48 (11.04.69)
A tough-tackling midfielder who led Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma to victory in the 2010 Asian Champions League after retiring. In charge of Korea’s team at the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 Under-20 World Cup – tournaments that started well before ending in disappointment.

Under Pressure: Tae-yong started well, but a recent run of poor results could end up in him being sacked (Getty Images)

The Players
Son Heung-min is the focus of the team’s attacking efforts.
Approaching 100 caps, midfielder Ki Sung-yeung is a calming influence. Koo Ja-cheol offers aggression and goals from midfield when fit.
Lee Chung-yong didn’t appear in any qualifiers this year as a lack of playing time with Crystal Palace in England hurt his chances.
There are high hopes for busy striker Hwang Hee-chan who has settled into life in Europe with Red Bull Salzburg.

South Korea World Cup Squad

Final 23-man squad –

GOALKEEPERS: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC).

DEFENDERS: Kim young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).

MIDFIELDERS: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United).

FORWARDS: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg).

South Korea World Cup Injuries

Park Joo-ho went down with a hamstring injury.

Top Scorer: Son was Korea’s top scorer during the qualification matches with seven goals (Getty Images)

The Unanswered Questions

Who will be in charge?
Ever since qualification was achieved there have been rumours of Guus Hiddink making a return – and they have been favourably received by most of the public. The Dutchman is highly unlikely to return, but Shin Tae-yong will be under pressure if poor results continue.

Playing Time: Lee Chung-yong will need to play more for Crystal Palace if he is to play in Russia (Getty Images)

Will the European-based players get more games with their club sides?
The likes of Lee Chung-yong at Crystal Palace and Ji Dong-won at Augsburg have not appeared much this season and they will need more playing time with their club sides if they are to make the plane to Russia.

Will Toni Grande make a difference?
With many thinking there was a need for some foreign knowhow, former Spain and Real Madrid number two Toni Grande was appointed as assistant in November. And he has much work to do.

[collection name=”small” accordion=”mobile” excerpt=8]

At World Soccer we will update you with all the news related to the World Cup on our website. Make sure you know about the GroupsFriendliesDatesFixturesStadiumsTV Schedule, Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links.

Also don’t forget to follow World Soccer on Facebook, and Twitter.