17th → 15th → 27th → 19th → 16th… Korean soccer, except for 2014, is always ‘around the round of 16’

In a way, it can be said that he is steady. This is because Korean soccer has been consistently making scores around the round of 16 since the semifinals in 2002.

While the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar ended with Argentina winning, Korea ranked 16th in the final ranking of 32 countries announced by FIFA. 

According to the announcement results, the winners Argentina, France, Croatia, and Morocco took first to fourth places, followed by the Netherlands, England, Brazil, and Portugal, who advanced to the quarterfinals.

The countries that advanced to the round of 16 through the group stage, but failed to cross the threshold of the quarterfinals, were ranked 9th to 16th, respectively.

Among them, Japan, who recorded 2 wins and 1 loss in the group stage and lost after going to Croatia and a penalty shootout, took the highest ranking at 9th place. The penalty shootout will be recorded as a draw after the tournament. It means that Japan had the best record among the teams eliminated in the round of 16 with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.

Japan was followed by Senegal, Australia, Switzerland, Spain, the United States and Poland.

And the 16th place was Korea.

Korea, which reached the round of 16 for the third time in 12 years since the 2010 tournament in South Africa and for the second time in an away game, finished the tournament with the lowest score among the countries that advanced to the round of 16. 

Excluding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it is interesting that since 2002, Korean football’s World Cup results have been determined around 16th place, regardless of whether or not they advance to the round of 16.

At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Korea failed to advance to the round of 16 due to a 0-2 defeat to Switzerland despite beating Togo and drawing with France, Korea ranked 17th after the round of 16.

Then, at the 2010 토토 World Cup in South Africa, which made it to the round of 16 in the away World Cup for the first time in history, it ranked 15th.

This is because the World Cup in Germany and the World Cup in South Africa were the same in the group stage itself, with 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss.

In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he suffered only one draw and two losses, including a crushing defeat against Algeria, and sat down in 27th place, but rose to 19th in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Even at the World Cup in Russia, it seemed to collapse with two consecutive losses in the beginning, but it rose to the top 20 with a 2-0 victory over Germany, called the ‘Miracle of Kazan’.

And at this World Cup in Qatar, they achieved 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss in the group stage and advanced to the round of 16, finishing in 16th place.

It was a great strength to barely climb to the round of 16 or not to climb unfortunately, or to win one win. With the exception of the World Cup in Brazil, he always won one game, showing the potential of Korean soccer and making the people happy.

However, it is clear that now is the time for a leap forward. 

With a close record of 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss, even if they reach the round of 16, the difference in skill with their opponents is not small, so it was proved at this World Cup in Qatar that they cannot advance further.

Although neighboring Japan lost to Croatia in a penalty shoot-out in the round of 16, it is a record to ponder that it beat Germany and Spain and took first place in Group F.

In Korea, four years later, with Son Heung-min alive and well, Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan, Hwang In-beom, Na Sang-ho, Kim Moon-hwan, Lee Seung-woo, and Kim Dae-won are at their peak as soccer players. Lee Kang-in and Cho Kyu-seong are also expected to upgrade their skills.

With these resources, it is possible to advance to the round of 16 or higher only when the goal is to win two tournaments, not one.