South Korea's journey to World Cup holds much promise (3)

13:02, May 14, 2010      

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South Korea is placed in Group B of the group stages of the World Cup alongside Argentina, Nigeria, and Greece.

Many foreign media predict a tough battle for South Korea in the group stages, as all three countries in Group B are ranked in the top 20 of the FIFA rankings, and have all shown good results in previous international competitions.

Argentina is a perennial soccer powerhouse, who has won the World Cup twice in 1978 and 1986, and was runners-up in 1930 and 1990. They are also one of the six countries to have qualified for the World Cup more than seven times, along with Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, and South Korea.

Nigeria has shown flashes of dominance in international competitions as it won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics and is a three-time champion at the FIFA under-17 World Cup. Local media said playing in their own region during the World Cup in South Africa will only enhance Nigeria's performance level, as was the case for South Korea who made it to the semifinals in 2002 when they were the host of the World Cup.

Greece is making its second appearance at the World Cup, however, it was the surprise winner of the UEFA European Championships in 2004, making them a formidable squad for South Korea. They were ranked 8th overall in the FIFA rankings in April 2008, and are now ranked 12th overall, as it continues to remain in the top rankings of the world.

South Korea announced its 30-men preliminary roster for the World Cup late last month and has to submit its final 23-man roster to FIFA by June 1. The South Korean national team is scheduled to play against Ecuador on May 16, and Japan on May 24, before heading to Europe for its final two friendly matches versus Belarus and Spain.

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