Four of South Korea's five Germany-based players have made Hong Myung-bo's FIFA World Cup squad, with Park Joo-ho left out through injury.
Park lost a race against time to prove his fitness following foot surgery at the start of April and was, as expected, left out of South Korea's 23-man squad for Brazil 2014 — a bitter blow for the left back, who played 27 matches in the Bundesliga for Mainz this season.
But there was good news for Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg), Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz) and Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg), who were all picked by Hong.
Outside of the local K-League, the Bundesliga provided the most players in Hong's squad alongside the Japan's J.League.
Kim Jin-su (Albirex Niigata), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kim Chang-soo and Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol) make up the J.League-based contingent, while there are five players from the top two tiers of English soccer — Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff), Park Chu-young (Watford, on loan from Arsenal), Yoon Suk-young (QPR) and Lee Chung-yong (Bolton).
Hong, who led South Korea's Under-23 team to a bronze medal at the London Olympics two years ago, has shown faith in a large group from that side with his squad having an average age of just 25.
South Korea has been pooled with Belgium, Algeria and Russia in Group H of this year's World Cup finals and will start its campaign June 17 in Cuiaba against the Russians.
That game will be followed by a clash with Algeria in Porto Alegre on June 22 before South Korea takes on Belgium in Sao Paulo four days later.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan), Lee Bum-young (Busan IPark)
Defenders: Kim Jin-su (Albirex Niigata), Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yoon Suk-young (QPR), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg) Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan), Kim Chang-su (Kashiwa Reysol)
Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen)
Forwards: Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Watford), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan)
- Sports & Recreation
- South Korea
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Kashiwa Reysol
- Hong Myung-bo
- Hong Jeong-ho
- Son Heung-min
- Koo Ja-cheol