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Who is the leading all-time top goal scorer for South Korea? Son Heung-min and their greatest strikers

13:32 GMT 24/11/2022
Son Heung-min South Korea 2022
South Korea have produced some great goal scorers on the international stage

South Korea have had some incredible goal scorers throughout the years as they developed into one of Asia's dominant forces at the international stage.

We all know Tottenham superstar Son Heung-min, who is arguably one of the greatest-ever players from Asia.

But what about the legendary Cha Bum-kun, winner of the UEFA Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen at club level.

Or Hwang Sun-hong, who enjoyed spells in Germany and Japan and featured at multiple World Cups?!

Who are South Korea's greatest goal-getters, though?

Let's take a look!

  • Cha Bum-Kun Bayer Leverkusen

    #1 Cha Bum-kun | 58 goals

    The greatest goalscorer to play for South Korea with 58 international goals, Cha Bum-kun enjoyed a successful stint in the Bundesliga at Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen at club level.

    Cha made his debut for the senior national team at the 1972 AFC Asian Cup, with his most memorable performance coming in the 1976 Korea Cup ,when he scored a hat-trick against Malaysia within five minutes to help South Korea salvage a 4-4 draw.

    The winger played his last international tournament at the World Cup in 1986.

  • Hwang Sun-Hong.jpg

    #2 Hwang Sun-hong | 50 goals

    Part of South Korea's three World Cup campaigns in 1990, 1994 and 2002, Hwang Sun-hong scored 50 international goals in 103 games between 1988 and 2002.

    He made a name for himself at his first appearance at the AFC Asian Cup in 1988, when he scored his first and second international goals against Japan and Iran respectively.

    Hwang was included in South Korea's World Cup squad in 1990 after scoring seven goals in the qualifying campaign, but his performance at the World Cup was somewhat disappointing as his country were knocked out in the group stages.

    The 1994 World Cup was Sun-hong's toughest phase as a footballer as he missed a number of opportunities to score in their first two group games, leading to South Korea's early elimination.

    Hwang's best performance for South Korea came at the 1994 Asian Games when he scored eight goals in his team's 11-0 win against Nepal.

  • #3 Park Lee-chun | 36 goals

    Next up on the list of South Korea's all-time top goal scorers is Park Lee-chun with 36 goals in 89 appearances.

    In his time with the national team between 1969 and 1974, Park led South Korea to the final of the 1972 AFC Asian Cup, which they lost.

    He was also part of the team that won the Gold medal at the 1970 Asian Games held in Thailand in 1970.

    In the semi-finals of the tournament, Park scored the winning goal in extra-time against Japan, before drawing 0-0 with Burma in the final, thus sharing the gold.

  • Heung-Min Son South Korea 2018

    #4 Son Heung-min | 35 goals

    South Korea's greatest active goal-scorer, Son Heung-min has scored 35 goals for his country to date.

    Son made his debut for the national team in 2010 and represented his country at the World Cup in 2014 and 2018 respectively.

    He is currently South Korea's joint top scorer at World Cups, tied with Park Ji-Sung and Ahn Jung-hwan on three goals.

    The Tottenham Hotspur star helped South Korea win the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games and also represented his team at the AFC Asian Cup in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

  • Kim Jae Han

    #5 Kim Jae-han | 33 goals

    With 33 goals in 58 appearances, Kim Jae-han is the fifth-highest international goalscorer for South Korea.

    An interesting fact about Kim's life is that he had decided to be a baseball player in high school, but his team was disbanded and he decided to take up football as his career instead.

    The forward was impressive at club level leading to him being called up for South Korea in 1972.

    Kim scored against Thailand and Hong Kong in the 1974 World Cup qualification to reach a decider against Australia.

    In a two-legged tie, he scored again but South Korea had to play a third game against the same opponents after their aggregate score was tied.

    They lost that game 1-0 and failed to qualify for the World Cup.

  • 2000년 아시안컵 이란전 이동국 Lee Dong Gook

    #6 Lee Dong-gook | 33 goals

    Lee Dong-gook featured at the 1998 World Cup, but new manager Guus Hiddink didn't choose the attacker for the 2002 World Cup, after which the striker admitted that he spent his days drinking and didn't watch a single game of that tournament.

    But Lee revived his career, becoming new manager Dick Advocaat's first choice forward for South Korea ahead of the 2006 World Cup, only for a knee injury to force him out of the tournament.

    In November 2007, he along with team captain Lee Woon-jae, teammates Kim Sang-sik and Woo Sung-young were banned from the national team after it was revealed that they went on a late night drinking spree with several female employees during the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

    He retired from the national team in 2017, scoring 33 goals in 105 appearances.

  • 포항 최순호 감독 Choi Soon-ho

    #7 Choi Soon-ho | 30 goals

    Choi Soon-ho made his South Korea debut in 1980 and was selected for the AFC Asian Cup that year.

    He scored seven goals, including two against Kuwait and a hat-trick against UAE in the group stage.

    Technically gifted, Choi possessed immaculate dribbling and passing skills and his close control enabled him to switch positions between striker and an attacking midfielder from time to time.

    Choi featured in 95 games for South Korea, scoring 30 goals with his best performance coming in a hat-trick he scored at the 1980 AFC Asian Cup against UAE.

  • Coach Kim Do-hoon | Ulsan Hyundai | AFC Champions League 2019

    #8 Kim Do-hoon | 30 goals

    Kim Do-hoon featured for South Korea at the 1998 World Cup in France.

    He famously scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Brazil in an exhibition game in March 1999, leading to South Korea becoming the first and only Asian nation to have ever beaten the mighty South Americans.

    Kim's most lethal performances for South Korea came against Nepal when he netted a hat-trick on two separate occasions in September and October 2003 in their 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification games.

    He scored a total of 30 goals in 72 games for South Korea between 1994 and 2003.

  • Huh Jung-moo

    #9 Huh Jung-moo | 30 goals

    Huh Jung-moo scored 30 goals in 104 appearances for South Korea and won two gold medals at the Asian Games during his illustrious international career.

    Jung-moo also featured for Korea at the 1986 World Cup.

    In the group game against Argentina, it was Huh Jung-moo who was was captured in an iconic photo where he appeared to kick the legendary Diego Maradona in the face.

    In the same tournament, he famously scored against Italy.

  • Choi yong-soo 최용수

    #10 Choi Yong-soo | 27 goals

    Tenth on the list of top international goal scorers for South Korea is Choi Yong-soo.

    Since making his debut in 1995, Yong-soo scored 27 goals for the national team in 69 games.

    Choi was part of South Korea's World Cup campaigns in 1998 and 2002 respectively.

    Although he didn't score at any of the two World Cups, he managed to score seven goals in four games for South Korea in the 1998 Asian Games in what was his best goalscoring run at international level.

  • #11 South Korea's all-time top goal scorers





    South Korea career


    Cha Bum-kun



    1972 - 1986


    Hwang Sun-hong



    1988 - 2002


    Park Lee-chun



    1969 - 1974


    Son Heung-min



    2010 - present


    Kim Jae-han



    1972 - 1979


    Lee Dong-gook



    1998 - 2017


    Choi Soon-ho



    1980 - 1991


    Kim Do-hoon



    1994 - 2003


    Huh Jung-moo



    1974 - 1986


    Choi Yong-soo



    1995 - 2003