2010 South Korea World Cup Predictions
by Doc's Sports - 3/12/2010
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Nickname: Taegeuk Jeonsa (Taegeuk Warriors)
Number of World Cup appearances: 7
Best World Cup finish: Fourth (2002)
Eight years ago South Korea soared to heights never seen before when they rallied behind fans and their former head coach Guus Hiddink to finish fourth in the 2002 World Cup. No longer led by the Dutchman, new coach Huh Jung-Moo has helped this Asian football nation reach its seventh straight World Cup.
Huh Jung-Moo is the first local coach to guide the South Korean to the finals since 1998. Their unbeaten campaign in qualifying makes it safe to say this country has proven itself as the powerhouse of Asia. They cruised comfortably through their region and booked a spot to South Africa alongside continental rivals Japan and North Korea.
Boasting a number of players that have found a home playing for club teams in Europe, there will be even more talent on display this summer than there was when the country made its run to the semi-finals in ’02.
2010 South Korea World Cup Odds
South Korea is currently 300/1 to win the World Cup.
12/1 odds to win Group B.
Key Player To Watch
Ji-Sung Park is the most notable player on the squad headed to South Africa. While he first came into the spotlight during the World Cup run in 2002, his name has grown exponentially during his time with Manchester United. Playing on the wing, his runs up and down with endless stamina to boot is a definite plus for the national team. His work-rate is something to behold and can really be seen with all the energy he plays with every time he is on the pitch.
Best Team Asset
No longer just a one-trick pony, South Korea has more capable players and teams can’t just focus on Ji-Sung Park any longer. Several other names are gradually climbing the ranks in the UK. Lee Chung-yong, a striker with Bolton, and midfielder Ki Sung-yong, who currently plays for Celtic, are going to be key figures for the squad. All three will most certainly be more well known after this summer’s tournament, but even more so this talented trio are sure to have a predominant effect on South Korea’s chances to advance out of Group B and into the knockout stages.
Key Team Weakness
One of the biggest questions for South Korea will be how they play in their first major world football tournament without their former boss Guus Hiddink. Current head coach Huh Jung-Moo has twice before led the Korean national team in 1995 and another stint in 1998-2000. That being said, this will undoubtedly be his biggest challenge yet leading his country in World Cup play. The World Cup futures odds alone (300/1) suggest they are one of the biggest underdogs in this tournament and are likely to be three and done after the group stage, but how can their coach and fellow countryman motivate a side no one is expecting anything from?
South Korea World Cup Predictions
South Korea can go through the motions and get their three games and bow out gracefully. That, or they can really stir the pot and find a way into the knockout stages. Argentina is miles ahead of everyone in the group, but even Nigeria and Greece aren’t impervious to a defeat or two. The runners-up spot in Group B is going to be a fun thing to watch. There are three different teams from three different continents with three completely different football styles facing off and only one can go through. This is the beauty of the World Cup.
Key First Round Match (best betting opportunity)
South Korea is definitely the wildcard of Group B. They fared so well in 2002, but that was as co-hosts, so I am unsure how they will do outside their comfort zone and without the friendly environment. I do think they will be a tough out in all three group matches. The best advice I can suggest is to wait and see how they look against Greece. If they win, then look at their finale June 22 v. Nigeria. This one could be for a spot in the knockout stages, and I would back the Asian side in a must-win scenario.
South Korea World Cup Group Play Schedule
v. Greece, June 12, 2010 – 10 a.m. ETat Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth)
v. Argentina, June 17, 2010 – 2:30 p.m. ETat Soccer City (Johannesburg)
v. Nigeria, June 22, 2010 – 2:30 p.m. ET at Durban (Durban)
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