USA vs. Korea Republic
The USA is 7-0-2 all-time against Korea Republic, which is ranked 16th in the world. The two teams first played in 1997 and most recently met in 2015, a 0-0 draw in New Jersey in the final game before the USA traveled to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. All nine games between the teams have taken place on U.S. soil.
Korea Republic played the first match in its history in 1990, against AFC rival Japan. While its rise to prominence in the women’s game has been a bit slow-going, since the turn of the century, Korea has made significant strides, qualifying for both the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it was eliminated after the group stage, and most recently the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it advanced to the Round of 16 – its best performance to date – before bowing out against world-power France, 3-0.
Leading the Charge
Since his hiring in 2012, the Korea Republic Women’s National Team has been under the leadership of Yoon Deok-yeo (Yoon is the family name), a former player for the Korea Men’s National Team. Yoon represented his country at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, and earned 31 caps from 1989-1991. He played professional soccer from 1984-92 in South Korea before transitioning into coaching in 1993. On July 12, 2017, it was announced that Yoon was set to sign a new contract that will take him through the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
One Step Towards France
In April of this year, Yoon's South Korea team won Group B at the Asian Football Confederation Women's Asian Cup qualifying tournament in Pyongyang, North Korea, where they competed against North Korea, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and India. South Korea and North Korea finished tied at 10 points each with three wins and a draw (1-1 against each other), but South Korea had a better goal difference (+20 to +17 for PRK) to claim the top spot in Group B, which eliminated North Korea from World Cup contention.
As the winner of Group B, South Korea will compete at the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan, which also doubles as the regional qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, where the top five teams will punch their tickets to the main event. The teams competing in that tournament will be: Host Jordan, Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic, the Philippines and Thailand.
Of the 21 goals scored by South Korea in the preliminary qualifying tournament, eight were scored by Ji So-yun (4) and Lee Geum-min (4). Cho So-hyun and Yoo Young-a scored three each. At that qualifying tournament, South Korea and North Korea tied 1-1 and both defeated Uzbekistan by 4-0 scores. That meant it came down to the goals scored against India and Hong Kong. South Korea beat Hong Kong 6-0 while North Korea beat them 5-0 and South Korea beat India 10-0 while North Korea beat them 8-0, which accounted for the three-goal difference which eventually sent South Korea to the final round of the 2018 Asian Cup, and most likely to France.