(Reuters) - Factbox on South Korea ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:
FIFA world ranking: 53
Ranking in Asia: 4
Previous Asian Cups: 13
Best performance: Champions (1956, 1960)
Nickname: Taegeuk Warriors
Coach: Paulo Bento
Regular captain: Son Heung-min
Player to watch: Son Heung-min
Sept 11 South Korea 0-0 Chile Suwon
Oct 12 South Korea 2-1 Uruguay Seoul
Oct 16 South Korea 2-2 Panama Cheonan
Nov 17 Australia 1-1 South Korea Brisbane
Nov 20 Uzbekistan 0-4 South Korea Brisbane
Jan 7 South Korea v Philippines Dubai
Jan 11 Kyrgyzstan v South Korea Al Ain
Jan 16 South Korea v China Abu Dhabi
Since his appointment in August, Paulo Bento has had little time to get to grips with the job but with the Koreans unbeaten in his six matches in charge, optimism is building ahead of their opener against the Philippines in Dubai on Jan. 7.
South Korea’s task in the group stage has been made more difficult due to the absence of captain Son Heung-min, who will sit out the first two games under an agreement with his club side Tottenham Hotspur.
However, the Koreans should still have enough firepower to see them through to the knockout stage, with Gamba Osaka striker Hwang Ui-jo enjoying a rich vein of scoring form and Ki Sung-yueng impressing at the heart of the Newcastle United midfield.
Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien