South Korea World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Son Heung-min is South Korea's star player
Son Heung-min is South Korea's star player / Briony Painter | 90min

South Korea will participate in their tenth consecutive World Cup in 2022 having qualified for every tournament since 1986.

They'll be looking to progress into the knockout phase of the competition for just the third time in their history and the first time since they finished fourth as hosts in 2002.

Drawn in Group H alongside Portugal, Uruguay, and Ghana, South Korea will be looking to spring a surprise akin to their defeat of Germany four years ago in Qatar.

Here's what to expect from South Korea at the World Cup

When are South Korea's group games?

  • Uruguay vs South Korea (November 24, 13:00 GMT)
  • South Korea vs Ghana (November 28, 13:00 GMT)
  • South Korea vs Portugal (December 2, 15:00 GMT)
  • South Korea vs Uruguay H2H record: Played 8, Won 1, Drawn 1, Lost 6
  • South Korea vs Ghana H2H record: Played 8, Won 4, Lost 4
  • South Korea vs Portugal H2H record: Played 1, Won 1

Who is in South Korea's confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab), Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), Song Bum-keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Hong Chul (Daegu FC), Kim Min-jae (Napoli), Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka), Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan Hyundai), Cho Yu-min (Daejon Hana Citizen), Yoon Jong-gyu (FC Seoul)

Midfielders: Jung Woo-young (Al-Sadd), Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolves), Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Sangmu), Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos), Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan), Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Jeong Woo-yeong (Freiburg), Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Forwards: Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Ui-jo (Olympiacos), Cho Gue-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Which South Korea players are missing the World Cup through injury?

There would've been a collective South Korean gasp when Son Heung-min's face felt the wrath of Chancel Mbemba in Tottenham's Champions League clash away at Marseille at the start of November.

Son trudged off the pitch in the first-half and it was later revealed that the Korean superstar would undergo surgery to stabilise an eye fracture. However, the player took to Instagram to confirm that he'd be joining up with his compatriots in Qatar. He's good to go!

Who are South Korea's best players?

Kim Min-jae is South Korea's star in defence / JUNG YEON-JE/GettyImages

Kim Min-jae

Kim Min-jae has been nothing short of revelatory for Napoli this season. Tasked with replacing stalwart defender Kalidou Koulibaly, the aggressive South Korean hasn't missed a beat at the heart of Luciano Spalletti's defence.

Son Heung-min

Son Heung-min may not have enjoyed the best of starts to the 2022/23 season, but he's achieved God-like status in his homeland and all their hopes rest on the Tottenham star's shoulders.

South Korea predicted starting lineup

South Korea have typically functioned in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 under Paulo Bento with Son capable of operating off the left or as a central striker. They're a side that likes to dominate the ball, but they may be forced to enjoy lengthy periods without it against the superior opposition they'll face in Group H.

South Korea predicted XI (4-3-3): Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kwon Kyung-won, Kim Jin-su; Kwon Chang-hoon, Jeong Woo-yeong, Hwang In-beom; Hwang Hee-chan, Hwang Ui-jo, Son Heung-min.

Harry Symeou hosts Toby Cudworth & Jack Gallagher to look back on Germany '06 as part of the 'Our World Cups' series. We take a trip down memory lane - join us!

If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

South Korea's form going into the World Cup

South Korea have lost just three of their 15 games in 2022 but struggled against strong opposition. Bento's men were battered 5-1 by Brazil in the summer and 3-0 by Japan in the EAFF Football Championship. However, a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica and a 1-0 win over Cameroon in their September friendlies will give supporters some optimism heading into the World Cup.

South Korea's last five results (all competitions)

South Korea 1-0 Iceland South Korea 1-0 Cameroon South Korea 2-2 Costa Rica Japan 3-0 South Korea South Korea 3-0 Hong Kong

Where will South Korea finish in the World Cup?

South Korea stunned the Germans in Russia four years ago and both Portugal and Uruguay should be on upset alert in Group H. The former, in particular, may be vulnerable to a surprise defeat.

Nevertheless, Son's sub-par form combined with his injury means their superstar isn't likely to fire in Qatar. Thus, it'd be a huge surprise to see South Korea progress into the round of 16.

Prediction: Group stage exit