The Korea Republic national football team has been Asia's most successful national team since they made their debut at the 1948 Summer Olympics. It has participated in more World Cup finals than any other Asian team, even reaching the semi-finals in 2002, when they co-hosted the tournament with Japan.
Korea has a long football-playing history. In ancient times, there was a Korean ball game called chuk-gu very similar in form to contemporary football. However, Koreans first saw the present version of football in 1882 when British crew members played a game while their vessel was visiting the port of Incheon.
Since the 1960s, South Korea has emerged as the major football power in Asia, winning several prestigious Asian football championships, such as the first two Asian Cup tournaments. The Korea Republic national team has also played in 7 consecutive World Cup finals from 1986, for a total of seven World Cups (more than any other Asian country). 2014 will be their 8th appearance. The 2002 FIFA World Cup was a sign of the rapid progress made in Korean football. Led by Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, the Korea Republic astonished the world by defeating traditional powerhouses Italy and Spain, and advancing to the semi-finals, a first for Asian football.
The Korea Republic will be playing in Group F with Germany, Mexico and Sweden.