The hosts started the match - played at Ulsan World Cup Stadium on Tuesday - with vigor and valor, and dominated the first half. However, the Koreans were unable to break down a well - drilled Iranian defense.
The match gained momentum after the break as Iranians started playing with much more purpose.
A mistake from South Korean football player Kim Young - Gwon allowed Iran’s striker Reza Qouchan - Nejad to break through, find the hosts’ net and sail the ball past South Korea’s goalkeeper Jung Sung - Ryong in the 60th minute to ensure Iran top Group A of World Cup qualifying Asia and take one of the two places on offer.
South Koreans counter - attacked into Iran ' s half of the pitch after the goal, but could not find the equalizer and level the score.
Despite the loss, the hosts qualified for the 2014 World Cup and edged group rivals Uzbekistan on goal difference.
Uzbekistan beat Qatar 5-1 in Tashkent on Tuesday, but needing to win by seven goals, failed to overhaul South Korea for the second automatic qualifying spot in Group A. It will now go into a play - off series.
The 2014 tournament in Brazil will mark Iran’s fourth World Cup appearance and a ninth for South Korea.
Meanwhile, Australia clinched the birth in the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Australia played Iraq at Sydney ' s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday and recorded a 1-0 victory in front of 80,000 rain - soaked but euphoric fans.
The lone goal was scored by Australian forward Josh Kennedy, who scored the late goal via a header in the 83rd minute of the second half of the game.