If you want to know who the most successful football team from Asia are, look no farther than South Korea. They have featured in all the world cups held since 1986.

In the 2002 World Cup that South Korea co-hosted with Japan, South Korea stunned the world, when they entered the semi-finals at the event.


Nearly a decade later, the Asian football giants will seek a rerun of that 18.moa feat. But before that, they must get past the group stage, and their immediate stumbling block is Greece whom they will face on Saturday, at Port Elizabeth.

In 2006, South Korea failed to get past the group stage, and they will want to achieve at least that objective, this year.

The match against Greece could prove crucial in helping decide which of the two will accompany Argentina to the round of 16. With Nigeria the fourth team in the fray, this is one of the tougher groups, and an upset or two could liven things up.

Going strictly by current form, South Korea should pip both Greece and Nigeria to the second spot in the group. The Asian team went unbeaten through their qualification matches, and in warm ups to the event in South Africa have got the better of Japan, Ecuador and Ivory Coast.

And in a match against European champions Spain at Innsbruck, the Koreans came close to holding the Spaniards to a draw; Spain managed to eke out a 1-0 win on the back of a late goal in the 86th minute by Jesus Navas.

Greece have qualified for the event after a long gap of 16 years. Their 1994 campaign in USA ended on a tearful note after they were demolished in all three group matches, while conceding 10 goals.

Greece followed up on their shock win in Euro 2004 by not qualifying for World Cup 2006 and by failing to win a match at Euro 2008, as defending champions.

As in Euro 2004, the absence of expectation could work in Greece's favour in World Cup 2010, according to their German coach Otto Rehhagel. Greece will look to the fleet-footed Celtic striker Georgios Samaras to provide them the initiative. The World Cup is an opportunity for Samaras to prove his unfulfilled potential where it matters most.

South Korea captain, Ji-Sung Park, will bring his hyper energetic self to bear in midfield as he orchestrates his side's campaign, in South Africa. His experience with PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United should prove handy in seeing his side past the group stage.