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May 27, 2014

11 Things You Need To Know About Korea's World Cup Team

Be the reds!

1. This is their jersey. It "expresses the balance of yin and yang."

Nike / Via

Designed by Nike, the jersey references the interlocking shapes of the Taegeuk, the yin yang shape at the center of Korea's flag, at the top of each sleeve. It's also got a collar inspired by traditional Korean clothing, and a tab inside the back of the neck with Korean calligraphy that translates to "fighting spirit."

2. The Republic of Korea, commonly called South Korea, is in East Asia. It's east of China, west of Japan, and has the world's fastest Internet.

3. Fans call the team the "Taeguk Warriors," and call themselves "The Reds."

Shaun Botterill / Getty

4. Their first World Cup appearance was in 1954.

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They lost two games, to Hungary and Turkey. They wouldn't make their next appearance until 1986.

5. Including 2014, they've qualified for the Cup nine times. That makes them Asia's most frequent visitors to the games.

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6. And in 2002, they co-hosted the Cup with Japan. These were the mascots:

FIFA / Getty

That year, the team came in fourth place.

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They were carried there by extreme home support, and what some have called dubious refereeing in key matches against Italy and Spain.

7. Their most famous player of all time, sweeper Hong Myung-Bo, is also this year's coach.

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Hong Myung-Bo in 1997.

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Hong Myung-Bo in 2014.

He played for ROK in four consecutive World Cups, including the 2002 cup. Later, he played on the LA Galaxy. After retiring in 2004, he coached Korea's 2012 Olympics team, which won the bronze. He's managing this year's World Cup team following the resignation of Choi Kang-hee, who stepped down in June after Korea performed poorly in the Asian qualification games.

8. This year, they are part of group H.

9. 28-year-old forward Park Chu-Young is one of the team's stars.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty

10. But look out for 21-year-old striker Son Heung-min.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty

During the regular season, he plays in Europe. He was at Hamburg from 2010-2013, and just joined Bayer Leverkusen for a reported 10 million Euro.

Go get em!

11. Their chances of winning this year:

A nickname for the team has been corrected.