A 2-0 away win against Group B rivals the United Arab Emirates has ensured Korea Republic will appear at their seventh consecutive FIFA World Cup™ finals, the goals coming in the first half via Park Chu-Young and Ki Sung-Yueng.
On the back of northern neighbours Korea DPR's 0-0 draw with Iran earlier on 6 June, Huh Jung-moo's charges went into the match at the Al Maktoum stadium in Dubai knowing that victory over struggling UAE would seal their place at South Africa 2010.
And they got off to an ideal start with Park firing home after nine minutes and Ki hitting a vital second eight minutes before the interval. The Koreans had to play for much of the second half with only 10 men after Kim Jung-Woo received his second yellow card, though the hosts also went a man down in the closing minutes after Hilal Saeed was dismissed for a dreadful tackle on Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung.
The result means that Korea Republic are now top of the section with 14 points after six games, three clear of Korea DPR, who have played one game more, and four ahead of Saudi Arabia. With Korea DPR's only remaining game coming against the Saudis, Korea Republic can no longer finish lower than second in Group B - thus confirming their passage to the finals.
The visitors' opener had come after good build-up play by Lee Chu-Yong, whose chipped ball forward found Park, who calmly placed his shot past goalkeeper Majed Naser from the edge of the box.
Naser then did well to deny Ki and Lee with a double save in the 35th minute, only to gift the Koreans a second goal two minutes later. The keeper gave the ball away to Ki, who had the simple task of tapping into the unguarded net.
Veteran Korean custodian Lee Woon-Jae was called upon to preserve his side's advantage in the minutes leading up to the break, twice preventing the UAE's Nawaf Mubarak from reducing the deficit.
Just three minutes after the restart, the Koreans found themselves down to ten men when Kim Jung-Woo picked up a second booking for a foul on Mahmoud Khamis. But the hosts failed to take advantage and very nearly fell further behind in the 73rd minute only for Lee Chung-Yong to fire straight at Naser.
The UAE's numerical superiority subsequently disappeared when Saeed received a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Park, though they very nearly grabbed a consolation in stoppage time when Mohamed Al Shehhi's volley was kept out by a superb save from Lee.