29 June 2010

North Korea squad returns home after World Cup

SEOUL, South Korea (AP)—North Korea’s football squad has returned home from South Africa after competing in its first World Cup since 1966.

International TV news agency APTN showed footage of the players arriving Tuesday at the airport in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

North Korea lost 2-1 to Brazil, 7-0 to Portugal and 3-0 to Ivory Coast in its group matches.

Striker Jong Tae Se says “it was good to be at the World Cup” and “we as players and the people think that we should keep being enthusiastic and develop our football.”

North Korea advanced to the quarterfinals at the 1966 tournament in England.

Unlike their departure for the World Cup, there were no crowds of people at the airport waiting to see the players return.

Deconstructing Chollima : A North Korean view

The Chollima may have failed to win a match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa but the fact that they qualified for the finals in the first place was a major achievement.

This is the view of Mun Si-song, a former high-ranking official at the DPR Korea Football Association who is now Head of the DPR Korea desk at AFC.

Mun said people tend to forget DPR Korea’s marvellous effort of qualifying for the finals after a long absence of 44 years.

DPR Korea lost 2-1 to Brazil, 7-0 to Portugal and 3-0 to Ivory Coast in Group G of the World Cup this year. They scored just once and conceded 12.

In an interview with www.the-afc.com, Mun hailed the never-say-die spirit displayed by Kim Jong-hun and his charges.

Hard-working team

“The end result might look unpleasant. But please bear in mind that the team has qualified to the World Cup after 44 years,” said Mun.

“If you see how hard the team worked over the past few years, I don’t think you will ever criticise them.

Mun Si-song
“I am not saying that they deserved accolades, but considering the difficulties the DPR Korea team faced on their road to South Africa compared to others, they, at least, should not be condemned.

“I am sorry for the team, they truly deserve recognition for what they've done and have achieved in the past years.”

Mun also expressed sadness at DPR Korea being tagged "the worst team from Asia" because of their performances compared with Korea Republic, Japan and Australia.

“I am not a tactician; don't ask me about statistics or whatsoever. But what I can see with my own eyes is that DPR Korea were dedicated in every match they played.

Group of Death

“They were in the Group of Death. But all DPR Korea players fought until the end and did their very best.

“It is a dream for every footballer in my country to play in the World Cup. It is the highest honour you can ever get in your football career.

“The only thing I need to admit is the team was lacking experience and international exposure.”

In response to a suggestion that North Korean players should play abroad, he said: “I don't think it will make much difference whether the players are playing domestically or abroad because football is about the team, not individuals.

“Individual brilliance might produce a goal but doesn’t necessarily give you a win.”

Top players

Still, Mun was quick to praise midfielder An Yong-hak for his performances. The 32-year-old, like star striker Jong Tae-se, was born in Japan and plays for Omija Ardija in the J-League. Jong, meanwhile, is in the ranks of Kawasaki Frontale.

“An was the best player for the DPR Korea in South Africa with his high work rate and determined character,” said Mun.

“He is an unsung hero who will never let the national team down. Jong also did reasonably well considering he is playing as the only out and out attacker in the squad.

“Apart from the Portugal game, the team played very well in general."

Mun, who was with the DPR Korea FA from 1998 to 2002, also reserved praise for head coach Kim Jong-hun.

“He has been fantastic. He is a very dedicated and brave person. In my opinion, he is the man to take the team forward."

More : afc.com website

28 June 2010

North Korea player to join Swiss 2nd tier club Wil

GENEVA (AP) — North Korea defender Cha Jong Hyok is to join Swiss second division club FC Wil as a first step to a career in Europe's bigger leagues, according to his agent.
The 24-year-old defender played in all three of his country's World Cup group matches in South Africa and took several long shots on goal in games against Portugal and Brazil.

His agent Karl Messerli told The Associated Press that Cha, who will be leaving North Korean state-owned club Amrokgang, will become the third North Korean to transfer to Switzerland in the past year.

"We have the work permit and he will arrive in two weeks," Messerli said.

"The aim is to prepare this player for the European leagues. Of course he won't play all his life in Wil. We want to test him, let him play, and prepare him for higher tasks."

Messerli said there will be no upfront transfer fee, but Amrokgang will be paid on results if Cha proves himself or is sold to a bigger team.

Wil already has 21-year-old North Korean midfielder Kim Kuk Jin, who joined the club last year.

A third player whom Messerli declined to name returned to North Korea from Switzerland because of homesickness, the agent said.

Messerli said an English and a German club had expressed an interest in two more players from North Korea's national squad, which exited the World Cup after a group stage that included a 7-0 drubbing by Portugal.

USA Today

26 June 2010

North Korea - CIV 0-3

elspruit: The Curtain came down on DPR Korea’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign on Friday with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Cote d’Ivoire, consigning the Chollima to a hat-trick of Group G loses.

The North Koreans’ chances of advancing from the group stage ended with a 7-0 drubbing by Portugal leaving Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side chasing down a seemingly impossible nine goals to nudge the Portuguese out of the last 16.

However, any margin over victory wouldn't have made a difference in the end as Portugal drew 0-0 with Brazil to finish a point ahead of the 'Elephants'.

Cote d’Ivoire joined hosts South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria as first-round casualties with only Ghana carrying on the African cause in the knockout round.

Barcelona playmaker Yaya Toure struck first in the 14th minute, drilling home from outside the area off a cut-back from Kader Keita.

The Elephants went two-up on 20 minutes after Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba rattled the crossbar with a fierce volley and left midfielder Romaric with an easy header into an unguarded net.

Drogba’s Chelsea team-mate Salomon Kalou, a second-half substitute, found the net in the 82nd minute, tucking away a high ball from defender Arthur Boka.

Cote d’Ivoire were looking for a mammoth win over the North Koreans and relying on group leaders Brazil to beat the Portuguese in Durban for them to have an outside prospect of reaching the knockout round.

Drogba, in imperious form, headed the ball into the net in the 12th minute but was ruled offside as Ivory Coast bombarded the North Korean goal.

The Ivorians' play fell away in the second half as the Kim Jong-hun’s side tightened their five-man defence, screened by three midfielders.

Eriksson made a double substitution in the 64th minute bringing on Kalou for Keita and Aruna Dindane for Gervinho as he juggled his attack to prise more goals and Kalou dutifully answered the Swedish coach's call.

North Korea's Japanese-based striker Jong Tae-se didn't look out of place with the skilful Ivorians and he tested their defence with speed and close control several times.

Jong had a great chance in the 81st minute and only a diving block from Manchester City defender Kolo Toure - brother of Yaya - stopped him from scoring.

The match was played in good spirit with Spanish referee Alberto Undiano not once brandishing the yellow card.


25 June 2010

North Korea - Ivory Coast

North Korea play Ivory Coast (CIV) today.

Match time : 16.00 local time

21 June 2010

Portugal - North Korea preview

Portugal - North Korea play today. 13.30 local time.

Preview from goal.com : link

19 June 2010

North Korea deny players are missing

North Korea deny players are missing and the absence of four stars from the official FIFA team sheet was a "clerical error"


16 June 2010

North Korean Fans in South Africa

Reports from the media all over world about no North Koreans fans going to South Africa and that North Korea has "hired" chinese fans is not correct !

They were at least 50 North Korean supporters from North Korea at the Brazil match

LA Times


North Korea - Brazil 1-2

Match report from afc.com : link

Courageous Koreans emerge with confidence : link

AFC President proud of DPR Korea : link

DPRK fans optimistic despite defeat : link

At the scene : from zeroes to heroes : link afc.com

Next match is against Portugal on 21. June

11 June 2010

DPR Korea players want Brazil scalp

Johannesburg: DPR Korea players Thursday talked up their chances of beating five-time world champions Brazil, saying they had a tougher mentality than the South American giants.

The 105th-ranked side gave the media a rare glimpse into their preparations at a gym session.

"The mentality for victory, strong organisational power and unity in fighting -- these attributes are further ahead in us than the Brazil team, I think," midfielder An Yong-hak told South Africa's SuperSport TV.

"We are grouped with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast but we will do our best with strong mentality and organisational power in order to send good news to our country and people."

The midfielder said Brazil, whom DPR Korea face on Tuesday, were the "strongest team in the world" but did not rule out victory, according to Korea Republic's Yonhap news agency.

"The chances aren't high but I can't say there isn't any chance at all," An, who plays for Japanese club Omiya Ardija, said before team training at Makhulong stadium near Johannesburg.

An also said he wanted to avenge DPR Korea's loss in the 1966 quarter-finals to Portugal, who stopped the "Chollima" in their tracks in their only previous World Cup finals appearance in England.

"Revenge, we will try to get revenge for 1966," he said, adding that he would like the chance to play against Didier Drogba, who is battling to be fit to play for the Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile star striker Jong Tae-se told FIFA's website the DPR Korea had nothing to fear from the "Group of Death."

"We think that we got a difficult group, but there is not one among us who thinks that we stand no chance at all, and we all play believing that we will win," he said.

"There’s no doubt that it will be difficult, but we believe that if we become one and play our matches, there’s no one we cannot beat. So in our coming matches against Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast we will combine our strength and be victorious."


09 June 2010

North Korea can beat Brazil, says 'Asian Rooney'

By John Weaver (AFP) – 19 hours ago

TEMBISA, South Africa — North Korea's best-known player Jong Tae-Se said Tuesday he hopes the team can change the image of the isolated nation and believes they could topple mighty Brazil.

Jong, who plays in Japan's J-League and is known as Asia's Wayne Rooney, spoke to reporters before North Korea's first open training session at Makhulong stadium outside Johannesburg.

"We want to change the North Korean image," he said, adding that the major strength of the 105th-ranked "Chollima" was their powerful team spirit.

"Our core mentality is like Germany, Germany's spirit," he said.

"We're brave. We can win against Brazil. Everybody thinks about that game is we can't win but we have a brave heart and brave spirits."

North Korea, better known for its nuclear weapons programme and dubious rights record, were drawn in the same group as Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal.

Jong admitted he was "very surprised" by the draw but said he is happy to pit his wits against football's big guns, starting with five-times World Cup winners Brazil in their Group G clash on June 15.

And he said he had picked up tips on the legendary South American giants from Brazilian team-mates at Kawasaki Frontale.

Jong holds South Korean nationality like his parents, descendants of immigrants from colonial Korea. But he has managed to obtain a North Korean passport after growing up at patriotic pro-Pyongyang schools in Japan.

More : link

06 June 2010

North Korea - Nigeria 1-3

'People's Wayne Rooney' vows to deliver

SEOUL: North Korea striker Jong Tae-se has promised to score a "goal a game" at the World Cup and lead his country into the knockout stages of the South Africa finals.
The Japan-based forward, dubbed the "People's Wayne Rooney" by Asian media after the England striker, predicted North Korea would shock Group G rivals Portugal and Ivory Coast and progress along with Brazil.

"I will keep my promise of scoring one goal per game," Jong, who scored both goals in his country's 2-2 draw with Greece in a recent warm-up game, told South Korea's Chosun Ilbo.

"In our group it will be Brazil and North Korea who will advance."

North Korea are making their first World Cup finals appearance since their astonishing run to the quarter-finals of the 1966 tournament won by hosts England.

They could hardly have been given a tougher assignment in South Africa with Portugal and Ivory Coast also drawn in their group.

Training at night under heavy guard and behind barbed wire in the township of Tembisa, about 30 minutes from Johannesburg, however, North Korea insisted they were relishing the challenge.

"I want to surprise the world," said midfielder An Yong-hak, after passing the three large North Korea flags in the lobby of the team hotel to board the bus for training. -- Reuters


Fans stampede gates outside stadium

TEMBISA, South Africa (AP)—Thousands of fans stampeded gates outside a stadium before a World Cup warmup match between Nigeria and North Korea.

Several fans could be seen falling under the rush of people Sunday, many wearing Nigeria jerseys. The Makhulong Stadium in the Johannesburg suburb seats about 10,000 fans.

The first rush came when the gates opened to allow fans into the stadium. Police soon closed the gates, but when they were reopened, a second rush occurred, with more people falling and being run over.

More ; link

Nigeria friendly today

North Korea - Nigeria in South Africa.
Match time : 16.00

Livestream links

Nigeria won 3-1 . Jong Ta Tse scored.

Media-shy North Koreans train in SAfrican township

By GERALD IMRAY, AP Sports Writer

TEMBISA, South Africa (AP)—The North Korean World Cup squad has held its fourth training session in South Africa with foreign media yet to be allowed in.

The media-shy North Koreans are making their second World Cup appearance and first since 1966. They worked out Saturday at the Makhulong Stadium in the township of Tembisa, near Johannesburg.

Access was granted to only a North Korean TV crew and FIFA’s TV unit as Kim Jong Hun’s squad prepared for an exhibition against Nigeria at Makhulong on Sunday.

The secretive communist country is required to give journalists access five days before its first match—against Brazil on June 15.

03 June 2010

Nigeria Limit Fans For N.Korea Friendly

Nigeria’s final World Cup warm-up match on Sunday against fellow World Cup finalists North Korea will only be watched by 5,000 fans, team officials have informed MTNFootball.com.

Team spokesman Peterside Idah informed: “Besides the invited guests for the game, we will only accommodate the first 5,000 fans into the stadium.”

There is a strong Nigerian presence in South Africa and still will be further boosted as the World Cup kick-off nears.

The kick-off time for the friendly has been fixed for 4pm South African time, which is an hour ahead of that of Nigeria.

Nigeria and North Korea will clash at the Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa, on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Sunday.

MTN Football

Selection blow for Korea DPR

Korea DPR have been told by FIFA that Kim Myong-Won will only be able to play as a goalkeeper in the FIFA World Cup™ and not in his usual role as a striker.

Coach Kim-Jong Hun decided to name only two regular goalkeepers in his squad with Kim, who plays for Amrokgang, as the back-up. It was seen as an attempt to boost the nation's attacking options as they prepare to face Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal in Group G.

However the move has backfired spectacularly after FIFA confirmed to Press Association Sport that Kim will only be allowed to play as a goalkeeper, not as an outfield player. Unless there is an injury, no changes will be permitted to their final squad.

In a statement, world football's governing body said: "The squad lists that the teams had provided to FIFA by 1 June, 2010 are final and can no longer be changed. On the final lists must be no more than 23 players, three of whom shall be goalkeepers.

"The only exception is in the case of a serious injury of a player in the list of 23, who could be replaced up until 24 hours before the first match of the team in the competition.

"The three players listed as goalkeepers can only play as goalkeepers during the FIFA World Cup and cannot play outfield. This will be communicated to the teams in the team arrival meetings and will be enforced on match days." The statement added: "Kim Myong-Won will not be allowed to play as an outfield player if he has been put on the list as a goalkeeper."


01 June 2010

Korea DPR touch down

Korea DPR arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning vowing to punch above their weight in only a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

"It is great for us to come to the World Cup in South Africa and we have a great desire for success in the tournament," coach Kim Jong-Hun said via an interpreter at Johannesburg international airport.

Clear, cool late autumn weather greeted the 2000-1 outsiders who must face five-time world champions Brazil, 2006 semi-finalists Portugal and African giants Côte d'Ivoire in the group stages.

But none of their rivals will need reminding of what happened in 1966, the last time they competed at world football's showpiece event.

More : fifa.com