by Joseph Mattern
Get more World Cup betting information including betting bonuses, World Cup odds and our famous World Cup picks, which in 2006 earned $100 bettors over ten times their initial investment. ($100 bettors earned $1,820 click here for details)
Korea Republic, or South Korea, hopes to continue in Germany where it left off in the 2002 World Cup. As Asia's most successful team, they had an incredible run in 2002 as the host squad, reaching the semifinals with wins over Spain and Italy before losing to Germany. In a group with only one big favorite, anything is possible.
This team is ranked No. 31 in the world heading into the 2006 World Cup. This will be South Korea's seventh World Cup appearance, and its sixth in a row, having played in every World Cup since 1986. Korea Republic didn't impress in qualifying for Germany, finishing second to Saudi Arabia in its group.
Coach Dick Advocaat will have his hands full trying to lead his team beyond the group stage, especially with the Switzerland and France sides looking to make the Korea Republic team's stay in Germany a short one. Korea Republic has set a torrid pace in preparation for the World Cup tourney, playing 10 matches in less than 50 days, with very mixed results.
Korea lost to Costa Rica, Denmark and United Arab Emirates, and scored victories against Angola, Mexico, Syria, Croatia, the United States and Finland.
Star midfielder Park Ji-Sung has a lot of confidence in South Korea's chances, according to fifaworldcup.com, saying, "I am certain we can go even beyond the round of 16. We're all determined to prove to the world that what happened in 2002 was not the product of luck and home advantage."
Ji-Sung is used to playing in Europe, first with PSV Eindhoven and currently with Manchester United, but he thinks it will be important for his teammates to adapt to the different fields in Germany. "Korean grass is rather dry and stiff, while European grass is softer and wetter" he has said in published reports. "It is important that we adapt to more slippery conditions."
Korea Republic will be hard pressed to repeat its 2002 performance no matter what the conditions of the fields are. This is a relatively young team that can run all day, and its aggressive style under Advocaat will undoubtedly give the other sides a fair amount of trouble. Will the play at the back be stout enough to stifle the offenses of Group G opponents? That is a real concern for South Korea. Will this be able to stand up against an offensive barrage? South Korea should be able to easily handle Togo, but Switzerland and France will be the biggest challenges in the group stage.
Outstanding midfielders are:
Park Ji-Sung -- Has played very well for Manchester United, and will be a key factor in South Korea's success in the tournament. Famous for scoring the winning goal versus Portugal in the 2002 World Cup opening round. His specialty is the free kick.
Outstanding Strikers are:
Lee Dong-Gook -- Quick, with good striking ability, which is something his team will need if it wants to advance out of Group G.
Outstanding defenders are:
Choi Jin-Cheul -- Talented defender with great tackling ability.
Korea Republic World Cup 2006 Odds: South Korea is about 200/1 to win the World Cup, but don't count it out. Remember, it finished fourth as the host in 2002.
Strengths: South Korea is strong in the midfield and up front, and it's relatively young, so it should be able to run a lot and press the action and create plenty of chances on offense.
Weaknesses: Defense could struggle against top offensive sides. Also, the team is young and doesn't have a lot of experience.
Korea Republic World Cup 2006 Outlook: South Korea is another one of those interesting middle-of-the-road sides that has the potential to shake things up in the group stage. Could surprise an up-and-down French team, and the match-up against Switzerland may prove to be the turning point in deciding this team's fate.
Korea Republic World Cup 2006 First Round Match Schedule (all times local):
Tuesday, June 13, Group G3 Korea Rep. v Group G4 Togo, in Frankfurt, 3 p.m.
Sunday, June 18, Group G1 France v Group G3 Korea Rep., in Leipzig, 9 p.m.
Friday, June 23, Group G2 Switzerland v Group G3 Korea Rep., in Hanover, 9 p.m.
Updated Korea Republic World Cup 2006 News: