Yoo Sang-chul, South Korean star of 2002 World Cup fame, dies of cancer at 49

Yoo Sang-chul scored in the 2-0 win against Poland in the 2002 World Cup and played in all seven of their matches.

South Korean footballer Yoo Sang-Chul dies at 49; Credit: Twitter/ @GoAwayWithJae
By Sreejith C R | Jun 8, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


Yoo Sang-chul, who starred in South- Korea’s inspiring run to the semi-finals of FIFA World Cup 2002 has died from cancer. He was 49. The midfielder was a pivotal part of the South Korean football team for almost a decade. He scored the goal that sealed their 2-0 win against Poland in the opening group fixture in 2002. Meanwhile, after retiring from football he worked as a pundit and then got into coaching. 

South Korea defeated Portugal, Italy and Spain en route to their surprising fourth-place finish in the 2002 World Cup. They were also the co-hosts that year along with Japan.

After the opening game win against Poland, the host’s were held to a 1-1 draw against the USA. In the last group game, Guus Hiddink’s side beat Portugal 1-0.

As a result, they went through to the  Round of 16 stage for the first time in their history. 

In the Round of 16, the host’s came from behind to beat the mighty Italian’s 2-1 courtesy of a golden goal in the 103rd minute. 

South Korea overcame Spain on penalties in the Quarter-final. But eventually, they were beaten by Germany in the semi-final and later, Turkey in the third place play-off match.

Yoo Sang-chul a modern day legend

The Versatile midfielder Yoo, who could play in both attack and defence played all seven matches for the Taegeuk Warriors and was included by FIFA in its 2002 World Cup All-star team.

Yoo made 124 appearances for the national team, from 1994 to 2005, scoring 18 goals. 

“We will forever remember the shouts and glory of that day with you. Rest in peace,” the Korea Football Association said in a message posted Monday on its social media channels.

Yoo played his entire club career in Asia at Japan and South Korea. Winning the J-League and K-League with Yokohama F-Marinos and Ulsan Horangi respectively.

After retiring from football he worked as a pundit on national television before starting his coaching career at K-League club Daejeon Citizen in 2011. 

He was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer in 2019 while he was at Incheon United and quit the job after two months only after ensuring their survival in the league.



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