South Korea's journey to World Cup holds much promise (4)

13:02, May 14, 2010      

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The 2010 World Cup carries historical meanings for the Korean Peninsula as it marks the first time in World Cup history to have both South Korea and the DPRK in the group stages.

The DPRK tied with Saudi Arabia in its final match of the Asian qualifying rounds, completing the qualifications with three wins, three draws, and two losses, to secure its place in the 2010 World Cup.

It was a monumental event for the DPRK as it was their second-ever birth to the World Cup since 1966, when they made it all the way to the quarter-finals.

South Korea, on the other hand, will make its eighth overall appearance in the World Cup, which is also their seventh consecutive qualification, as it aims to pass the group rounds for the first time in history when the tournament is played in overseas soil.

Since its first World Cup debut in 1954, South Korea has failed to make it past the group rounds in five straight appearances, including the World Cups in 1986, 1990, 1994, and 1998.

South Korea's best results in international competition came in 2002, when the country co-hosted the World Cup with Japan, as it made a historical run to the semifinals on its home turf.

However, they were handed yet another early exit in the 2006 Germany World Cup, and now the country is expecting its first ever advancement to the Group of 16 in South Africa.

"Our team has a clear goal and a strong passion for the upcoming World Cup. I don't think we are behind any team, especially in terms of confidence and a fighting-spirit," head coach Huh said in a press conference.

The Taegeuk Warriors will arrive in South Africa on June 5. Their first match with Greece will take place on June 12 in Port Elizabeth, followed by games versus Argentina and Nigeria on June 17 and 23, respectively.

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