South Korea 2022 World Cup squad: Roster, outlook, top players

South Korea went through their qualifying campaign, losing just one game and finishing behind Iran in the group. Son Heung-min was tied for the lead in Asian qualifying with four goals and no team conceded less than South Korea’s three goals in 10 matches. But the competition in Qatar will be radically different from qualifying, and the South Koreans will be well aware of that with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Su├írez lined up opposite them in the group stage.

The Taegeuk Warriors are led by manager Paulo Bento, who has a 63.5% winning percentage since taking over South Korea after the 2018 World Cup. His conservative style has rubbed off some critics in the wrong way, but after a full World Cup cycle, Bento will know what he expects from such a tight-knit group. (Fun fact: he also coached Portugal in the 2014 World Cup, which also included a game against current Group H opponents Ghana).

South Korea didn’t look particularly inspiring in their last international window, drawing with Costa Rica and grating through an unimpressive Cameroon side with a 1-0 victory. He was also crushed by Brazil, 5-1, in a friendly this summer, but recent wins against Iran, Egypt and Chile should give him some hope. Still, hope won’t be enough to get through this group, especially with Son suffering from a recent broken eye socket suffered in the Champions League. He will be in Qatar, but his effectiveness is now a question mark for a team with little room for error.

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