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Soccer-World-Penpix of South Korea's likely squad for World Cup finals

Reuters

SEOUL, April 30 (Reuters) - South Korea's squad for the World Cup finals is likely to comprise the following 23 players:

Goalkeepers:

Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings) Age 29; 58 caps. Surprisingly handed the gloves for the 2010 World Cup after veteran Lee Woon-jae fell out of favour. He has been the national No. 1 ever since and is an agile, confident shot stopper. Won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. However, he is also prone to errors and does not deal with crosses well.

Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka) Age 26; 1 cap. Thrown into the deep end for his one and only international cap, Kim surrendered four goals in a loss to Spain in a 2012 friendly. Well-respected at club level in Japan but has shown few signs he is ready to challenge Jung for Korea's No. 1 spot.

Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai) Age 23; 5 caps. Regarded as the true competition for South Korea's No. 1 spot, though Brazil could come a little early for the 23-year-old. Has been handed five caps by coach Hong in friendlies since last August but a 4-0 loss to Mexico in January may have put paid to his chances of getting the nod for the World Cup finals.

Defenders:

Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande) Age 24; 19 caps. When World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi says you have the talent to play for Manchester United, you must be doing something right. Kim has impressed the Italian since he moved to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in 2012. Played a crucial role in helping them win the Asian Champions League last year.

Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg) Age 24; 23 caps. Solid centre back who caught the eye of Augsburg and signed a four-year deal with the German side last year. Missed out on the London Olympics, where Korea won bronze, due to a knee injury. Confident and comfortable on the ball, Hong will often play Korea out of trouble instead of thumping the ball back to the opposition.

Kim Jin-su (Albirex Niigata) Age 21; 9 caps. Left sided defender deployed in more of a wingback role for the national team in recent games. Strong going forward but can switch off at times. His lack of positional awareness was exposed against Greece in a March friendly.

Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai) Age 27; 10 caps. Reluctant to stray too far forward, Lee operates best in a flat back four and likes to keep opposition strikers in front of him, shepherding them out to the touchline. Has played at both fullback positions in recent friendlies but his distribution is questionable.

Park Joo-ho (FSV Mainz 05) Age 27; 13 caps. Former captain of the Korean Under 20 side, Park started his professional career in Japan before moving on to Switzerland's Basel and joining German side Mainz 05 last year. While some Korean players struggle to adapt to foreign climes, Park won plaudits from Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel for settling down quickly and filling a variety of roles in defence and midfield.

Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal) Age 32; 33 caps. Powerful central defender who is dominant in the air, Kang's experience could prove crucial in Brazil as the majority of Korea's defence have yet to be tested in the World Cup finals cauldron. Almost lost his sight in his left eye following an accident in high school.

Hwang Seok-ho (Hiroshima Sanfrecce) Age 24; 3 caps. Can count himself unlucky not to have won more caps as a succession of untimely injuries cost him his chance to nail down a place in the national side. Solid performer at fullback in Japan with Hiroshima Sanfrecce and was part of the Korean Olympic team that won bronze in London.

Midfielders:

Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City) Age 24; 26 caps. His eye-catching performances at the 2012 Olympics, where he helped the Koreans to the bronze medal, convinced Cardiff to buy him from Japanese side Cerezo Osaka and the attacking midfielder has impressed in England. While Korea can lack a cutting edge at times and play too many square balls, Kim's incisive passing and deft touch keeps the Korean midfield moving forward.

Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland) Age 25; 56 caps. Silky smooth central midfielder who pulls the strings, dictates tempo and provides a buffer for Korea's defenders. His delivery from set-pieces is world class and he is a serious threat from free kicks around the box. An example of the new breed of South Korean player, Ki has adapted to different styles of soccer in Australia, Scotland and England.

Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers) Age 25; 53 caps. The 'Blue Dragon', as his name translates, has stuck with Bolton through their slide out of the Premier League and down the Championship table. A horrible leg break in 2011 interrupted his career for more than a year, but he is now looking like his old self again, twisting defenders in knots and providing the kind of width that stretches defences to breaking point.

Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F) Age 25; 10 caps. Incurred the wrath of the IOC after grabbing a political placard and brandishing it following South Korea's win over Japan in the London Olympics bronze medal match. After almost 100 appearances for K-League club Busan, China's Guangzhou bought him to bolster their midfield for next season. More of a defensive-minded midfielder, Park could play alongside Ki when the Koreans come up against Belgium and Russia in Brazil.

Koo Ja-cheol (FSV Mainz 05) Age 25; 35 caps. Perhaps the most naturally gifted player on the Korean squad, he can play all across the midfield and slot into attack. A real workhorse, always willing to track back, and going forward has a real nose for goal, finishing the top scorer of the 2011 Asian Cup.

Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol) Age 24; 8 Caps. Japan-based defensive midfielder was attracting interest from Europe before switching J.League clubs to Kashiwa. Played under Hong when he was coach of the Olympic team and gave a good account of himself on the right side of midfield in Korea's 2-0 friendly win over Greece in March.

Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan) Age 29; 12 caps. Squad player who returned to the national set-up in 2012 after a three-year absence. A standout for FC Seoul and Jeonbuk in Korea, he has three league winner's medals but never quite managed to establish himself fully with the national side.

Nam Tae-hee (Lekhwiya SC) Age 22; 11 caps. Exciting, energetic prospect, the versatile midfielder has represented South Korea through the youth ranks and is gradually making an impression in the full international side. Has yet to convince Hong that he is worthy of a starting place though.

Forwards:

Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen) Age 21; 23 caps. Joined Hamburg's youth academy straight from high school in Korea and has flourished in Germany, earning a big money move to Leverkusen at the start of the season. Pacy and good with both feet, he is Korea's most dynamic forward whether played through the middle or on the flanks.

Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Hyundai) Age 26; 26 caps. Standing almost two metres tall, Kim is not in the mould of your typical South Korean forward. Known as "Our Giant" by Ulsan fans, he brings an element of physicality to the Korean side which will be vital in the heat of battle in Brazil.

Park Chu-young (Watford) Age 28; 62 caps; Looked set to become Korea's 'next big thing' when he moved to Monaco in 2008 but injuries and dips in form have kept him out of top flight football for long stints and he has moved to the English Championship in search of first team football.

Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu) Age 29; 62 caps. Asia's Player of the Year in 2012, Lee's ability to make an impact has never been in question but producing consistent performances has. At his vibrant best, Lee will drag defenders wide and deliver the kind of dangerous crosses strikers love. At his anonymous worst he can run up and down blind alleys all day.

Ji Dong-won (Augsburg) Age 23; 26 caps. Versatile forward has found favour in Germany after an unproductive spell in England with Sunderland. Will play for Borussia Dortmund next season after spending time on loan with Augsburg. Another member of Korea's Olympic bronze medal-winning squad, he has pace to burn but can be bullied out of the game by physical defenders (Editing by Mark Meadows and Mike Collett)

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