South Korea emerged as the major Asian football power after the 1960s, having participated in eight consecutive and nine overall FIFA World Cup tournaments. The Korea Republic national football team represents South Korea in international association football, and is controlled by the Korea Football Association (KFA).
In 2002, South Korea co-hosted the World Cup tournament with Japan and became the first, and currently only, Asian team to reach the semi-final stages of the tournament. At the 2010 World Cup they reached the last sixteen.
South Korea won the first two AFC Asian Cup tournaments, but not since. The team finished second in 1972, 1980, 1988, and 2015, and third in 1964, 2000, 2007, and 2011. They also took gold at the 1970, 1978, and 1986 Asian Games.
German Uli Stielike took the Koreans to the final of the 2015 Asian Cup just four months into the job, but was fired in June 2017 due to poor results in the country’s 2018 World Cup campaign. The new national team coach is Shin Tae-yong, an assistant coach with the national team since 2015. The KFA says that Shin’s contract will see him coach the team through to the 2018 finals if they qualify, but will be terminated if they fail to reach Russia.
At the Olympic Games and the Asian Games, Korea Republic is represented by the national under-23 football team. The team mostly includes the under-22 and under-21 squads. The bronze medal winning team of 2012 Summer Olympics and the gold medal winning team of the 2014 Asian Games were granted exemption from mandatory military service.
The Korea Republic national under-20 and under-17 football teams represent South Korea in international youth football competitions.
The South Korea women's team represent South Korea in international women's football competitions. Its first game was a match against Japan in 1990, which it lost 13–1. Since then, it has qualified for two FIFA World Cups, in 2003 and 2015. After the 2015 Women's World Cup, the KFA promised to invest more into the women’s team.