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Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan), Lee Bum-young (Busan IPark)

Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yoon Suk-young (QPR), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg) Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan), Kim Chang-su (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Joo-ho (Mainz)

Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Watford), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan)


Team ProfileEdit

South Korea are set for a changing of the guard in Brazil with coach Hong Myung-bo having picked a youthful squad for the FIFA World Cup.

While most teams see the World Cup as the end of a four-year cycle, Hong has seemingly already started looking ahead to the 2018 tournament in Russia, as he is set to lead a large number of his former Under-23 internationals in Brazil.

Hong was promoted from his former role as South Korea's Olympic men's football coach in June last year, after the contract of his predecessor Choi Kang-hee expired at the end of the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) qualifying campaign.

South Korea breezed through the third round of the AFC's World Cup qualifying, topping Group B ahead of Lebanon, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates with four wins and a draw from six matches.

Yet, after winning their first two qualifiers in the final round, they stuttered on their way to securing a spot in Brazil, losing twice to Iran and only winning two of their last six games.

Those results saw Iran top Group A, while South Korea only finished ahead of third-placed Uzbekistan on goal difference, after a 1-0 victory over the Central Asians - thanks to an own goal - in their penultimate qualifier.

While Choi maintained throughout his tenure that he was not interested in leading South Korea at the World Cup finals, the way his team stumbled across the finish line meant most fans and pundits were happy to see the back of him.

Hong was installed as coach after leading the Under-23 team to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and quickly set about reinvigorating the senior squad, as he oversaw 11 friendlies before naming his squad for the World Cup.

In the final round of AFC qualifying, Choi relied on a host of experienced players, including Kim Nam-il, Lee Dong-gook, Kwak Tae-hwi, Yeom-Ki-hun, Kim Chi-woo, Choi Hyo-jin, Jung Sung-ryong, Oh Beom-seok, Park Won-jae, Lee Keun-ho and Ha Dae-sung.

In Hong's 23-man squad announced in May, which had an average age of 25, only four of that group - Kwak, Jung, Lee Keun-ho and Ha - were picked, with Kwak the only player aged over 30.

South Korea have been drawn in Group H with Belgium, Algeria and Russia and will kick off their campaign in Cuiaba against the latter on June 17.

Hong's men will then take on Algeria in Porto Alegre on June 22 and Belgium in Sao Paulo four days later.

Two players with less-than-stellar reputations in England, Park Chu-young and Ji Dong-won, will most likely play a key role in attack.

Both men struggled to make an impact in the Premier League, with Arsenal and Sunderland respectively, but are still considered to be among Hong's best options up front given their impressive records at international level.

Bayer Leverkusen forward Son Heung-min, one of the brightest young prospects in the Bundesliga, will most likely join Park and Ji in Hong's preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Defender Kwak and goalkeeper Jung will be expected to hold South Korea's defence together, while Ki Sung-yeung, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland from Swansea City, will be critical in midfield alongside the likes of Koo Ja-cheol and Lee Chung-yong.

Having been drawn in one of the weaker groups at the World Cup, South Korea should be quietly confident of advancing to the round of 16.

Player Profile (Son Heung-min)Edit

Position: Forward
Date of Birth: July 8, 1992
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
International Debut: v Syria (December 31, 2010)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0

South Korea are set to showcase a new generation at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with a group based in Germany likely to lead the way.

With former youth and Olympic team coach Hong Myung-bo now in charge of the senior side, South Korea have a squad for Brazil that contains only one player over the age of 30, defender Kwak Tae-hwi.

Despite their lack of experience, South Korea's leading man in the tournament could be a player poised to make his maiden appearance at the World Cup finals - Bayer Leverkusen's Son Heung-min.

In South Korea's opening match at the 2010 showpiece, established names such as Lee Young-pyo, Lee Jung-soo, Park Ji-sung and Cha Du-ri all started, while Kim Nam-il came off the bench.

None of that quintet will be in Brazil as Hong looks predominantly to the players he led to a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Son did not go to London, but he is one of his country's brightest talents and the leading member of South Korea's Bundesliga-based quintet that also includes Augsburg striker Ji Dong-won and central defender Hong Jeong-ho, plus attacking midfielder Koo Ja-cheol and left-back Park Joo-ho, who are both at Mainz.

Park - who will miss the World Cup through injury - and Koo were particularly influential in Mainz clinching UEFA Europa League qualification for next season, while Ji is set to join Borussia Dortmund after the tournament in South America.

Having made the move from Hamburg to Leverkusen before the 2013-14 campaign, Son quickly impressed for his new club and settled in his role of filling the void left by Andre Schurrle following his departure to Chelsea.

Son, who can also operate as a winger, scored in the opening round of the Bundesliga and was the toast of Germany in late November and early December as he scored six goals in four league matches for Leverkusen, including a hat-trick against his old club.

A return of 10 goals from 31 Bundesliga appearances and 12 in total in Son's first season at Leverkusen will give him plenty of confidence ahead of the World Cup, particularly as he is well aware that the tournament brings with it plenty of extra scrutiny after South Korea finished fourth in 2002 and reached the last 16 four years ago.

"Of course the expectations in South Korea are very high, but we've got to live with that," the youngster told the Bundesliga's official website.

Belgium, Algeria and Russia will face Hong's men in Group H.

Son added: "It's a tough group, but we also have a good, young team. Many players play in Europe and there's a good blend.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go in Brazil."

If Son's international record is anything to go by - he has scored six goals in 24 matches - he could be primed to come of age in Brazil.

News SourcesEdit

The Korea Herald -

The Korea Times -

Chosun Ilbo (English edition) -

Arirang -

South Korean FA -