Korea Republic played in the 2022 Qatar World Cup with stunning bespoke Nike kits. They wore them in Group H of the competition, against Portugal, Ghana & Uruguay. Needing a win after a draw and a loss to Uruguay and Ghana, respectively, South Korea managed to upset Portugal via 2-1 scoreline and reached the Round of 16. They exited the tournament after losing 4-1 to Brazil in the said round. Nike has been Republic of Korea’s technical partner since 1995.
Korea Republic World Cup Kits
South Korea Home Kits
2022 South Korea Home Shirt
South Korea campaigned in the 2022 World Cup with a Nike home that was predominantly reddish-pink. It had a tonal tiger striping, obviously taking inspiration from their tiger nickname, along the raglan sleeves to give the shirt some design element. A polo collar in black capped off the look.
2020 South Korea Home Shirt
The prominent change applied on the 2020 South Korea home kit was the patterned print on the top half part of the shirt, departing from the solid colours of the uniforms the team had worn for their previous campaigns. The said print though gradually transitioned to a solid red near the bottom part of the jersey. Going into the details of the design of the pattern, we could see that it was composed of multiple intersections of three lines on a diagonal orientation. Using the shoulder and sleeve area as the starting point, the lines coming from the left side alternated between solid and broken lines and were quite bent as they extended further down. The lines coming from the other side were wavier. Combine these lines and you had an excellent representation of the Hallyu Wave (a term coined by Chinese journalists to demonstrate the growth of interest with Korean culture).
South Korea Away Kits
2022 South Korea Away Shirt
South Korea’s black Nike away shirt for the 2022 World Cup expressed the ultimate creativity and spontaneousness. With a black base, the kit was able to give life and visibility to the abstract spraypaint strokes in red, blue and yellow covering the entirety of the kit. It was as if a Korean tiger had paint on its paws and slashed around the shirt.
2020 South Korea Away Shirt
While the home kit represented the progressive Hallyu culture of South Korea, the away strip in 2020 was a direct nod to the country’s nickname as the ‘Tigers of Asia.’ The kit combined black and white to produce a tiger skin-like graphic that spanned the entire shirt. The sleeves had narrow black cuffs while the v neckline had an attached black fabric that shapes into a round neckline. Classy gold accents appeared in the form of the Swoosh and the Federation badge on the right and left chest, respectively. White shorts and socks with the tiger print details completed the away kit.
South Korean played their first international match against Mexico in London, England on the 2nd of August 1948, losing 5-3. The country known as the Asian Tigers (and locally as the Taeguk Warriors) have been Asia’s most successful national team since they made their debut at the 1948 Summer Olympics. South Korea played their home games mostly in red shirts with dark blue shorts and red socks in the past, with the away strip being a combination of white shirts, red shorts and white socks more often than not. They had their most successful world cup appearance in 2002 when as joint hosts with Japan they finished an impressive and unexpected 4th.
They are one of the most dominant nations in the AFC Confederation along with Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Asian nation have won the AFC Asian Cup twice, in 1956 and 1960 (when they hosted the tournament) and have been runners-up and third place on numerous occasions. The nation have had several notable players to wear their shirt including Park Ji-Sung, Cha Bum-Kun, Hong Myung-Bo, Park Chu-Young, Lee Dong-Gook, Kim-Nam-II, Lee Chung-Yong and many more. Nowadays, they are well-represented by the likes of Son Heung-Min and Kim Min-Jae.
World Cup 2022 – Led by talisman Son Heung-min, South Korea qualified for the Qatar World Cup with two group games to spare. This meant that the nation comprised the Asian delegation to the World Cup for the tenth consecutive time dating back to 1986. The Tigers of Asia then marked the first winter World Cup with pinkish red home kit that had a camo design (patterned after a tiger print) on the raglan sleeves. The away kit was their first-ever shirt in black, and featured an abstract, spraypaint-like graphic in a multicolour tone.
World Cup 2018 – The 2018 South Korea red home kit and its plain look contrasted with the white alternate shirt, which at least had strips of lines in red and blue positioned in a curved flowing manner to abstractly illustrate the Taeguk. Despite another group stage exit, South Korea ended the campaign on a positive note as they delivered a 2-0 upset against Germany and bring the defending champions with them in crashing out of the group phase (Germany’s first time to do so since the reintroduction of the format in 1950). Mexico was so thankful for the upset win they celebrated in front of the South Korea’s embassy. Mexico’s victories in their first two opening matches would had been for nothing had Germany won since they themselves lost their last group match to Sweden (meaning Germany would proceed due to goal difference). The match was therefore called the ‘Miracle of Kazan.’
World Cup 2014 – If not for the broad trims demarcating the sleeves and the rest of the shirt, South Korea’s red home and white away strips might had been as plain-looking as their other classic kits. The former had the said trims in blue while the latter had them in red. High hopes were set because of the country’s bronze medal in the 2012 summer Olympics. However, the group stage exit curse afflicted them, resulting to some angry fans dishonourably pelting them with native candy ‘yeot’ upon the team’s return to their homeland.
World Cup 2010 – In 2010, the Asian football powerhouse donned its red primary and white secondary jerseys that were designed with a faded graphical print, which was a representative image of the fur of a tiger (the team’s symbol). Manchester United legend Park Ji-sung led the charge both as captain and primary scorer, ending up with a R16 finish against Uruguay.
World Cup 2006 – South Korea’s 2006 red home and white away kits both featured blue-striped side panels as the standout feature. Despite starting the group stage with a win and a draw against Togo and France, respectively, they still exited the group stage when they lost 2-0 against group leader Switzerland.
World Cup 2002 – Like other Nike kits at that time, South Korea wore a white home and a red away jersey that had angular lateral trims accented from the partner kit’s base colour. Furthermore, both strips featured two sets of curved pinstripes, one covering the lefthand side and the other the bottom half. With the appointment of Guus Hiddink (the same Netherlands‘ manager that dealt them a 5-0 defeat a WC prior), South Korea made 2002 a memorable one. Not only did they co-host the event with Japan, they managed to finally win games and even finished fourth place despite not having won any matches in any of their previous World Cup appearances.
World Cup 1998 – The return of Cha Bum-kun as manager brought excitement to the nation’s 1998 campaign. But everything came to its head when South Korea lost 3-1 to Mexico and 5-0 to Guus Hiddink’s Netherlands, resulting to the legend’s sacking ahead of the final group match. The team reverted back to plain looks compared to the previous WCs, with the red home simply having a blue accent from the polo collar and the blue away having a white one.
World Cup 1994 – Arguably the most artistic of its World Cup kits, South Korea’s white home and blue away shirts featured a multicolour diagonal image that represented a wave effect. While the group stage exit was forgettable, the nation remembered 1994 for the ‘Miracle of Doha,’ where South Korea clinched qualification courtesy of their 3-0 win against NoKor but, more importantly, Japan’s concession of a late goal to Iraq. The results, all in all, meant SoKor were in due to better goal difference.
World Cup 1990 – Relative to the 1986 outfits, South Korea changed from blue to white for the away kit and remained red for the home in this World Cup. Both kits displayed red and blue accents on the collar (which appeared bolder on the secondary shirt) to maintain the influence of the flag colours. SoKor lost of its group stage matches in Italy to crash out of the competition.
World Cup 1986 – While the nation had its first World Cup in 1954, South Korea began its consistent participation only in 1986. They were led by Bundesliga great Cha Bum-kun, known at that time for his thunderous, powerful shots. Because the 1954 campaign ended without a single goal scored, Park Chang-sun actually gave the nation its first World Cup goal when he scored against Argentina in the opening match. The team wore a red home and a blue away shirt, patterned after the colours of the Taeguk symbol on the national flag. The kits were made by then Samsung’s fashion brand that was renamed Rapido in 1988.