Korea Republic defender Kwak Tae-Hwi has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup™ finals after suffering a knee injury in yesterday's 1-0 defeat to Belarus in Austria.

The 28-year-old Kyoto Sanga player, who only returned to the squad last November following a lengthy lay-off with a similar injury, twisted knee ligaments during a challenge in the first half and was carried off on a stretcher.

Kwak will need at least four weeks to recover from twisting a ligament in his left knee.

Lee Won-Jae, Korea Republic media officer

Coach Huh Jung-Moo is set to call up either Suwon Bluewings defender Kang Min-Soo or Hwang Jae-Won of Asian champions Pohang Steelers to take Kwak's place in his 23-man World Cup squad.

"Kwak will need at least four weeks to recover from twisting a ligament in his left knee," said media officer Lee Won-Jae.

South Korea complete their preparations against European champions Spain on Thursday ahead of their opening game against Greece in Group B on 12 June.