Korea Republic

The past

Germany 2010 will mark Korea Republic’s second appearance at this competition. Their maiden campaign at the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup six years ago in Thailand proved unsuccessful, as Baek Jong-Chul’s young Taeguk Ladies were outclassed by USA in a 3-0 defeat before going down 2-1 to Spain. Although the 2-0 victory against Russia put them level with the Russians on points and goal difference, the South Koreans finished third, narrowly missing a place in the quarter-finals.

The present

Korea Republic might not be a powerhouse of women’s youth football in Asia, but their second-place finish at last year’s AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in China was impressive and ensured a return to the world stage for the first time in six years.

Having clinched a berth in the semi-finals with convincing wins over Vietnam (3-0) and Thailand (5-0), Choi In-Chul’s charges lost 3-0 to neighbours DPR Korea in their final group game. Despite the daunting task of facing favourites China in the last four, the South Koreans duly accomplished their mission by beating the hosts 1-0 thanks to a late strike from Ji So-Yun.

The future

With the quarter-finalists at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup two years ago forming the backbone of the current squad, the young Taeguk Ladies will be hoping to leave another impression on the world stage, this time at a higher level. Among the class of New Zealand 2008, forwards Ji So-Yun and Jung Hae-In have made notable progress and were part of Korea Republic’s senior side in the East Asian Women’s Championship in February.

Facts and figures

Former stars

Park Eun-Sun, Lee Jang-Mi, Park Hee-Young, Cha Yun-Hee, Han Song-I (2004)

Key players

Ji So-Yun (forward), Park Hee-Young (midfielder), Shin Min-A (defender)

Qualifying statistics

Korea Republic reached the final of the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship, having finished runners-up in a group which included DPR Korea, Vietnam and Thailand before defeating China 1-0 in the semi-final. They lost 2-1 against Japan in the final.

The numbers game

4 – Ji So-Yun was Korea Republic’s top scorer with four goals at the Asian championship last year.