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Desperately seeking second round
Korea Republic's record at the FIFA World Cup is something of a mixture. While, with their five appearances at the finals (2002 will be their sixth, and an Asian record fifth in a row) they far outrank all other continental rivals, the Koreans have yet to make the move up to global level, failing to win a single game in any of their appearances.
It would be asking a lot of Guus Hiddink and his side to expect them to emulate the 1966 achievements of their northern cousins, who famously reached the quarter-finals, but the pressure is on the team at least to record their first win and reach the second round.
Hiddink's appointment in January 2001 was seen as a final admission that the Koreans needed outside help to bridge the gap between themselves and the world's top sides - the Dutchman will be the first non-Korean to coach the national team at a FIFA World Cup finals.
The former PSV Eindhoven coach has some talented players at his disposal, none more so than striker Seol Ki-Hyeon, who has developed well since moving to Belgium several seasons ago. Seol joined Belgian champions Anderlecht during the summer of 2001 from Royal Antwerp and is quickly becoming one of Hiddink's most reliable offensive weapons.
While Seol is a new face on the scene, many of the side that failed once again in France 98 remain, with the ever-reliable Hong Myung-bo at the back, Yoo Sang-chul in the centre of midfield and Hwang Sun-hong working with Seol in attack.
Significant past players:
Cha Bum-kun, Huh Jung-moo
-- Champion 1956, 1960 Asian Cup
-- 2nd 1972, 1980, 1988 Asian Cup
-- FIFA World Cup final appearances: 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998
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