KoreaCoach: Henrik Signell
Republic of Korea
This will be the 20th consecutive edition of the IHF Women’s World Championship which the Republic of Korea take part in, as the Asian powerhouse aim to finish in the top 10 for the first time since 2009, when they ended up on the sixth position.
Historically, Korea have had better results at the Olympic Games rather than at the IHF Women’s World Championship, but as the Olympic cycle comes closer to Paris 2024, the performances should be getting better and better, as the Asian side will bring an interesting mix of youth and experience to Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023.
Of course, the star of the team is Ryu Eun Hee, the right back who has been featuring in Europe for four years now, first at Paris 92 and now at Győri Audi ETO KC, one of the most consistent teams in Europe.
But the Republic of Korea also have plenty of talent stemming from the side which won the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, the first-ever such a title for the Asian side, which took everybody by surprise and clinched the trophy, having a huge potential for the senior side to tap in.
The last official competitions for the Republic of Korea have been quite interesting to say the least, as their supremacy in Asia at senior level has been challenged by a plucky Japan side.
Korea made it to Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023 by winning the title at the 2022 AHF Asian Women's Handball Championship, their sixth continental win in a row, but the final against Japan has been nothing short of dramatic. As Ryu Eun Hee scored 19 goals, Korea needed extra time and a huge comeback to seal the 34:29 win which brought the title, underlining some serious challenges.
Then, Korea secured a 25:24 win against Japan in the Asian women's Qualification Tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, after another comeback in the second half in August, sealing their 11th consecutive appearance in the competition.
But at the 2022 Asian Games, which have been played in September 2023 in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, a strong Korea side finished on the second place, conceding a painful loss against Japan in the final, 19:29, underlining the need for improvement in the Korea side.
This turbulent period might also reflect the changes made in the technical staff, as Korea continued their idea to use foreign coaches, with Kim Rasmussen being replaced this summer by the former Sweden women’s national team coach, Henrik Signell.
Signell will have his work cut out in Group C at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship, where Korea will face two European sides – reigning world and European champions Norway and Austria – and an outsider in Greenland, making the main round ticket mandatory.
However, Korea will need to clinch at least two wins in this group to extend their chances for the main round and for a top-10 finish, which remains the objective here ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Key players: Ryu Eun Hee (right back), Min Seo Kim (centre back), Lee Mig Yeong (left back)
Qualification for DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: 2022 AHF Asian Women's Handball Championship: Winners
History in tournament: 1978: 10th, 1982: 6th, 1986: 11th, 1990: 11th, 1993: 11th, 1995: Winners, 1997: 5th, 1999: 9th, 2001: 15th, 2003: 3rd, 2005: 8th, 2007: 6th, 2009: 6th, 2011: 11th, 2013: 12th, 2015: 14th, 2017: 13th, 2019: 11th, 2021: 14th
Group at DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Group C (Norway, Republic of Korea, Greenland, Austria)