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World Cup Weekly: Korea Republic's World Cup History

The U.S., who beat the Korea Republic in the Gold Cup last week 2-1 and could face them again on Saturday in the tournament's finale or third-place match, will face the 2002 World Cup hosts in the World Cup on June 10 in Daegu.  The match is the second of three for both teams in the World Cup and will be a pivotal one in deciding who survives the group.  Below is a brief history of South Korea's World Cup history.

The Korea Republic, who are currently 42nd in the FIFA world rankings, qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup as the one of the two co-host nations for the 2002 competition. Their six overall World Cup appearances are the most of any Asian nation, and give them much more World Cup experience than Japan (who are playing in just their second tournament in 2002).  Despite that extra experience, though, Korea has never won a World Cup game in 14 tries. Under the direction of Dutch head coach Guus Hiddink, the Koreans posted an 8-4-4 overall international record in 2001.

Qualification -
After earning a silver medal at the 1954 Asian Games in the Philippines, the Korea Republic advanced to their first-ever World Cup Competition, after defeating Japan in a two-game series played in Tokyo a month prior to the start of the tournament ... Korea Republic, who became only the second Asian nation to qualify for the world cup (after the Dutch East Indies in 1938), defeated Japan 5-1 in the first game, while both teams played to a 2-2 draw in the second ...
WC ‘54 - Korea opened the Group 2 first round by dropping a 9-0 decision to Hungary on June 17, 1954, in Zurich ... Hungarian midfielder Sandor Kocsis scored three of his tournament leading 11 goals in the thrashing of the Asians ... Three days later things didn't get any better for Head Coach Yuong Sik Kim and the Korea Republic as the squad was eliminated by Turkey 7-0 in game two of group play in Geneva ... Forward Sargin Burhan’s hat-trick led the Turks offense and forced West Germany to a playoff game for a spot in the quarterfinals ... West Germany topped Turkey in the playoff match 7-2 in Zurich and went on to defeat Hungary in the finals 3-2 for the World Cup Title.

Qualification -
After a 32-year absence, Korea Republic qualified for the second-ever World Cup by once again eliminating Japan in a home-and-home series for the tournament berth ... After scoring a 2-1 victory on the road in the game one, the Korea Republic completed the two-game sweep at home with a 1-0 win over Japan ...
WC’86 - Korea Republic were placed in a difficult group in the opening round, which featured three-time champion Italy (WC ’34, ‘38, ’82) and Argentina (would go onto to capture the WC ’86 Crown) ... The Asians began Group A competition by dropping a 3-1 decision to Argentina on June 2, 1986, in Mexico City ... After the South Americans had a comfortable 3-0 lead, midfielder Chang Sun Park notched Korea Republic’s first-ever World Cup goal in the 73rd minute to avoid the shutout ... The second match proved to be a good one as Korea Republic snapped a three-game losing streak in World Cup play as the squad battled Bulgaria to a 1-1 draw on in Mexico City ... Bulgaria took an early lead in the 11th minute on a goal by forward Plamen Getov, but second-half substitute Jong Boo Kim tallied the equalizer in the 70th minute for Korea Republic ... With a slim chance of advancing to the “Round of 16," the Asians took the defending champions Italy to the limit but fell short as the squad lost a heartbreaking 3-2 match on June in Puebla ... With the score tied at 1-1, Italian striker Alessandro Altobelli notched his second goal of the game in the 73rd minute for a 2-1 advantage ... Italy took a 3-1 edge after Korea’s Kwang Rae Kwang scored an own goal with eight minutes remaining in the game ... Defender Jung Moo Huh got the Asians back into the game and made it 3-2 with a goal in the 89th minute of play, but Italy held on for the win.

ITALY 1990
Qualification -
After capturing the 1988 Asian Cup a thrilling 4-3 penalty kick shoot out final over Saudi Arabia, the Korea Republic used the momentum and made it two in row as the squad advanced to the World Cup in Italy 1990 after finishing first in the final round of Asia’s qualification with a 3-0-2 ledger ... 
WC’90 - With only three players from the previous world cup squad, Korea Republic opened the first round in Group E with a 2-0 shutout by Belgium on June 12, 1990, in Verona ... After holding Belgium to a scoreless draw in the first half, Korea Republic gave up two tallies in a span of 11 minutes in the second half for the defeat ... Things got worse for Korea’s head coach Lee Hoe Taik in Udine just five days later as a hat-trick by midfielder Miguel Gonzalez Michel was all the offense needed by Spain in the 3-1 victory ... The only consolation in the match for Korea Republic was midfielder Kwan Hwangbo’s goal in the 42nd minute which was a 20-yard rocket past veteran Spanish ‘keeper Andoni Zubizarreta ... Already eliminated from reaching the “Round of 16," Korea Republic looked to be spoilers in the final game of group play against Uruguay, who was still in the hunt for a berth to the next round ... The Asians were just seconds away from earning a point, but a Daniel Fonseca tally in the 90th minute gave Uruguay a 1-0 win and a spot in the “Round of 16," while the Koreans went home from their third World Cup without a win.

USA 1994
Qualification -
Korea Republic earned a berth to their third consecutive (fourth overall) World Cup after finishing second to Saudi Arabia in the final round of Asian qualification with an overall record of 2-1-2 ...
WC’94 - The ‘94 competition proved to be a good one for the Asians, who just barely missed a berth in the “Round of 16" ... Korea Republic earned the first shocker of the tournament posting a 2-2 draw against Spain on the opening day of Group B competition on June 17th at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas ... After a scoreless first half, Spain jumped out to a 2-0 lead after scoring back-to-back tallies in a span of four minutes (51st, 55th) ... Korea Republic cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal by defender Myung Bo Hong in the 85th minute of play ... Then the Asians would steal a point after second-half substitute Jung Woon Seo would score the tying goal with two minutes into injury time for a thrilling 2-2 draw ...  To this day, the two-goal comeback in the final five minutes of play is the latest two-goal comeback in the history of the World Cup ... Korea Republic made it two straight first round games without a defeat after battling Bolivia to a scoreless tie on June 23, 1994, at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. ... Korea’s streak ended with a hard fought 3-2 defeat at the hands of the defending champions Germany (WC’90) on June 27th at Cotton Bowl in Dallas ... With two goals by forwards Juergen Klinsmann and one by Karlheinz Riedle, Germany had a comfortable 3-0 lead going into the second half, but forward Sun Hong Hwang got Korea on the board in the 52nd minute ... The lead was cut to 3-2 after defender Myung Bo Hong scored his second goal of the tournament in the 63rd minute for Korea Republic ... In what was widely considered to be one of the more impressive halves of soccer in the 1994 World Cup, the Koreans skillfully outplayed the Germans in the final 45 minutes, but could not get the third goal they needed to get the illusive first win and a spot in the “Round of 16."

Qualification -
Korea Republic qualified for their fourth straight (fifth overall) World Cup, the most by any Asian nation to date ... Korea earned the berth by taking the top spot in the final round of Asia’s qualifying stage with 6-1-1 overall ledger ...
WC’98 – With an opportunity to snap an 11-game winless streak in World Cup play, Korea began Group E competition against Mexico on June 13,1998, in Lyon ... After taking a 1-0 lead at halftime with a goal by forward Seok Ju Ha, Korea gave up the equalizer in the 51st minute ... That goal enabled Mexico to notch back-to-back unanswered goals by forward Luis Hernandez in a span of 10 minutes (74th, 84th) for a 3-1 victory ... Things got worst for Head Coach Bum Kun Cha and the Korean squad in Marseille ... Holland hammered Korea 5-0 and as a result Bum Kun Cha was fired by the Korean Federation ... Dutch Coach Guus Hiddink (now Korea’s Head Coach) would go onto lead Holland to the world cup semifinals for the first time since Argentina 1978 ... Under Interim Coach Pyung Seok Kim, Korea salvaged some pride in the final game of group play by holding Belgium to a 1-1 tie in Paris ... Captain Sang Chul Yoo had the only tally for Korea in the 71st minute of the game.