The Koreans, who have appeared at every finals since Mexico in 1986 and came fourth when they co-hosted the world cup in 2002, go to Qatar alongside Iran, who had already clinched a place from Asia’s preliminary Group A.
Although there was no English Premier League superstar to represent Son Heung-Min, Paulo Bento’s side dominated the game but came close to scoring goals until the nearest Cho Gue Sung shot came off the post in the 43rd minute.
Two minutes later, Cho, who scored the winning goal in the final against Lebanon, hit the ball over his head against the post.
Kim Jin-Su opened the scoring in the 54th minute which gave Syrian goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma a chance. Kwon Chang-Hoon fired outside the penalty area to double the score in the 74th minute.
Iran beat Iraq last Thursday to reach the finals for the third time in a row.
The third-placed Asian teams will compete in the semi-finals against a South American team that will enter Qatar.
The first World Cup final in the Arab world will kick off in Qatar on November 21.
South Korea has a history of World Cup trauma. It knocked Italy out of the semi-finals in 2002 and in the last World Cup in Russia beat Germany 2-0 but failed to reach the knockout stages.