Korea Republic made their biggest mark at youth level at the FIFA U-20 World Cup back in Mexico in 1983 where they stunned the watching world by reaching the semi-finals. Although they have never repeated the feat since, the Koreans still remain a powerhouse in Asian footballing circles. The 11-time continental champions booked their place at Canada 2007 in November 2006 when they finished third in the AFC Youth Championship in India.

Qualifying
With four tickets to Canada on the line, defending champions Korea Republic were certainly aiming higher than a top-four finish when they started their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Jordan. A 7-0 demolition of Kyrgyzstan then followed, in which Shin Young-Rok scored a hat-trick. The Koreans then went on to top their group with another 3-0 victory over hosts India.

Awaiting them in the quarter-finals were debutants Australia, and it was midfielder Song Jin-Hyung's free-kicks that sealed a 2-1 win and sent the young Taeguk Warriors into a semi-final clash with archrivals Japan. After 120 minutes in the driving wind and rain the match was tangled at 2-2. The Koreans had to settle for a ticket to Canada as losing semi-finalists, as they lost 3-2 in the penalty shootout.

Coach
During his playing career, Cho Dong-Hyun was a member of the Korea Republic youth side that reached the 1971 AFC Youth Championship final, where they lost out to Israel. After that achievement, he became a permanent fixture in the senior national squad until 1976 and also played for semi-professional side Kiup Bank from 1978 to 1981.

Four years after hanging up his boots Cho joined the coaching staff of Kiup Bank and stayed there until 1997. The following year, he was appointed coach of second division club Ulsan Mipo Dockyard, for whom he won more than 10 trophies in various semi-pro and amateur competitions. The 55-year old then took over the reins of Korea Republic's U-20 side in November 2005.

Star Player
The top scorer with five goals in the qualifying stage, Shim Young-Sung is one of the most promising strikers among the current crop of Korean youngsters. His name literally translates as "eternal star" and he is indeed regarded as the next big thing on his native Jeju island.

Shim started his career in Seongnam Chunma in 2004 but his chances were limited and he only made 15 appearances as a substitute during two and a half seasons. He joined his hometown club Jeju United in August 2006 and has played nine games in the second half of the season. Although he has yet to score his first professional goal, he will be hoping to prove himself again alongside strike partner Shin Young-Rok.

Record

  • Korea Republic qualified for Canada 2007 by reaching the semi-finals of the AFC Youth Championship in India in November 2006.

  • When they arrive in Canada, it will be the tenth time that the Koreans will take part in a FIFA U-20 World Cup.

  • Their best result so far was the fourth-place finish at Mexico 1983 and they have never gone beyond the group stage since they reached the quarter-finals at Portugal 1991.
What they said...
"We will analyse our performance in this tournament after coming back to Korea and will try to work on our weaknesses before the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada next year." (Coach Cho Dong-Hyun, after qualifying for Canada 2007)