Founded in 1928, the Korea Republic
football association has been part of the global football family since 1948, when the republic was founded. Little is known about the early years other than that the Korea Republic
took part in several Olympic Football Tournaments before playing host to the tournament in 1988. The Korea Republic
's heyday as a host was reached in 2002, when it jointly organised the FIFA World Cup? alongside Japan. Professional football saw the light of day in 1983 with two professional and three amateur teams - a beginning that blossomed into the modern-day K-League. The league evolved into 10 teams in 1997 and reached international fame, partly because of many outstanding players who soon became a household name in Europe: Cha Bum-Kun, Kim Joo-Sung, Ahn Jung-Hwan, who earned wide respect in Germany; Park Ji-Sung, who was successful first in the Netherlands, then in England; and Hong Myung-Bo, who led his team to the semi-final of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in his fourth consecutive World Cup finals. He rounded off his career in the USA in 2004.