The South Korea national football team, recognized by FIFA as the Republic of Korea, represents South Korea in men’s international football and is governed by the Korea Football Association. South Korea has emerged and emerged as a major football power in Asia since the 1980s and is historically the most successful football team in Asia, having participated in nine consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments overall. , which is the highest for any Asian country. South Korea Football History.

CountrySouth Korea
YearAll Years

Despite initially going through five World Cup tournaments without winning a single match, South Korea became the only Asian team to reach the semi-final stage when it co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan. South Korea also won two AFC Asian Cup titles and finished as runners-up on four occasions. Additionally, the team won three gold medals and three silver medals at the Senior Asian Games. The team is commonly nicknamed “Red” by both fans and media due to the color of their base kit. The national team’s support group is officially called the Red Devils.

Early History

Korea (Joseon) was not introduce to the sport of association football until the late 19th century. It is often said that football in Korea dates back to 1882 when Royal Navy sailors from HMS Flying Fish played a game while their ship was visiting the port of Incheon. Korea became a Japanese colony in 1905 and In 1910 it was fully incorporate into it.

In 1921, the first All-Joseon Football Tournament was held, and in 1928, the Joseon Football Association was organize, creating a foundation for spreading and developing football in Korea. Korean teams competed with Japanese teams around 1926. Joseon Football Club became a de facto national team for the Koreans and won the 1935 Emperor’s Cup. Koreans also played for the Japanese national team, most notably Kim Yong Suk who played for Japan in the 1936 Summer Olympics.

The Joseon FA was reorganize in 1945 as the Japanese occupation ended with the end of World War II. Following the establishment of the South Korean state in the late 1940s, a new Korea Football Association (KFA) was found in 1948 and joined soccer’s international governing body, FIFA. That same year, the South Korean national team made its international debut, winning 5–3 against Mexico at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.

1st World Cup Team

In 1954, South Korea qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, defeating Japan 7–3 on aggregate to qualify for the 1954 FIFA World Cup. South Korea was only the second Asian team to compete in the World Cup after the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and the first fully independent Asian nation to do so.

South Korea lost their only two matches by heavy margins: 9–0 against Hungary (joint heaviest defeat in World Cup history) and 7–0 against Turkey. Their third scheduled game, against West Germany, was never play because they were not seed in their group according to the rules of the tournament. It would take thirty-two years for South Korea to appear in the World Cup finals again.

Despite this poor performance, South Korea successfully rallied to win the inaugural AFC Asian Cup in 1956. It hosted the next edition in 1960 and successfully retained the title. Defeating South Vietnam, Israel, and the Republic of China in the process. However, the South Korean athletes received fake medals instead of gold medals. They were promise and returned to the KFA. The KFA had promised to give them real medals, but that didn’t happen until 2019. South Korea has not won the AFC Asian Cup since 1960, attributed to the “curse of fake gold medals”.

1st World Cup Title

In August 1976, the national university football team of South Korea participated in the World University Football Championship. A football competition of the International University Sports Federation prior to the establishment of Universiade Football. South Korea beat Brazil and Chile to reach the knockout stage and drew with France in the group stage. They won in the quarter-finals and semi-finals against Senegal and the Netherlands respectively.

In the final against Paraguay, South Korean forward Yoo Dong-Chun scored the opening goal, but South Korea scored a goal and drew the first half. The scene was a historic moment as South Korea won soccer’s world cup for the first time, although it was not achieve in a professional tournament. South Korea Football History.

Golden Time

In 1986, South Korea won the East Asian tournament of the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification. Including two victories against Japan in the final round. And qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1954. At the time the German Bundesliga, Cha Bum-Kun, joined the reigning champions, South Korea’s squad for the 1986 FIFA World Cup was regard as the golden generation in their country. South Korea Football History.

South Korea lost 3-1 to eventual champions Argentina. But Park Chang-sun scored South Korea’s first World Cup goal in the first group match. They drew 1-1 with Bulgaria and faced defending champions Italy in the crucial final. They conceded Alessandro Altobelli’s early goal, but Choi Soon-ho equalized from outside the penalty area. However, Altobelli’s second goal was follow by a fatal own goal by Cho Kwang-roe. And South Korea lost the match 3–2 although Ho Jung-mo pulled one back.

Afterward, South Korean newscasts and journalists criticized referee David Socha. Claiming that his decisions about the conditions of the game were poor. Including the decision to penalize Italy. South Korea overcame a World Cup failure with a gold medal at the 1986 Asian Games. For more details click here