24 January 2011

Jo Tong-Sop Vows To Build An Adventurous North Korea Side

Head coach Jo Tong-Sop has vowed to build an a more adventurous North Korea side in the future.

By Stefan Coerts

North Korea put in some impressive defensive performances at the 2011 Asian Cup and conceded only two goals in the group stage. The Chollima failed to score any goals themselves though and were thus unable to qualify for the knockout stages.

Head coach Jo Tong-Sop wasn't too disappointed with North Korea's early elimination and pointed out that the team has learned some important lessons.

Jo added that he's looking to build on a more adventurous North Korea side in the future and is confident that some youngsters can make the step up to the senior side.

"We got good experience during this tournament. We learnt that defending is important but that attacking is more important. Using the experience gained in this tournament, we will try to be more attacking in the future," Jo was quoted as saying on the official FIFA website.

"Our U-20 team has good players technically, and also in defence and midfield, so we will try to combine the young players with the senior ones. And we will try to display our abilities more in terms of attacking in the future."


20 January 2011

Iraq 1-0 DPR Korea

Doha: Iraq advanced to the quarter-finals of this year's AFC Asian Cup finals after Kerrar Jasim's first-half goal secured a 1-0 win over DPR Korea in their final group D game at Al Rayyan Stadium on Wednesday.

The midfielder scored the only goal on the night after 22 minutes to steer his side to their second win in the competition and secure their place in the knockout stage.

After a slow start from both teams, Iraq began to threaten Ri Myong-guk's goal and they almost took the lead in the 17th minute when Mustafa Kareem met Mahdi Kareem's corner with a forceful downward header but the ball bounced up and hit the underside of the bar before being cleared to safety.

However, Iraq's pressure paid off five minutes later when Mustafa Kareem's shot was parried by Ri but Jassim was first to get to the loose ball and he slid home into the empty net.

Needing to win to keep their last eight hopes alive, DPR Korea looked to hit back and Jong Tae-se called Mohammed Kassid into action with a free-kick from distance.

Jong had another chance five minutes later when he forced his way into the area but his powerful shot hit the side netting two minutes before Pak Nam-chol fired over the crossbar.

Iraq almost ended the first-half with a two-goal advantage when Jasim's good work down the left flank ended with a fizzing cross that Mustafa Kareem met ahead of a Korean defender but steered a volley well wide from six yards.

DPR Korea were the better side in the second-half and Ryang Yong-gi unleashed a powerful shot eight minutes into the second period but Kassid proved equal to his effort.

Iraq replied shortly afterwards and Jasim saw a fierce effort fly just over the crossbar before again trying his luck in the 75th minute but his shot only found the side netting.

The Koreans continued to press and Jong had another sight of goal when he collected the ball inside the area but could not beat Kassid, who was well positioned to make the save.

DPR Korea had another opening eight minutes before the end when skipper Hong Yong-jo found some space on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected wide as Iraq held on to their narrow advantage.


15 January 2011

YouTube : Iran - North Korea , Second half

YouTube : Iran - North Korea , first half

Iran 1-0 DPR Korea

Doha: Iran became the first side to book their place in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™ quarter-finals as Karim Ansari Fard's goal midway through the second-half secured a narrow 1-0 victory over DPR Korea.

Ansari Fard got on the end of Pejman Nouri's cross to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute at Qatar Sports Club Stadium as Iran claimed their second consecutive victory in Group D following the opening 2-1 triumph over neighbours Iraq.

The opening exchanges saw plenty of commitment from both sides but chances were hard to come by and it took until the 16th minute for Jong Tae-se to warm the hands of Iran keeper Mahdi Rahmati, with An Young-hak driving the rebound well off target from outside the box.

Ansari Farid then saw a goal ruled out for handball as the game settled into a midfield battle before Jong once again was presented with a sight of goal five minutes from the break after a ball was lifted over the Iran defence, but the striker's angled shot was held by Rahmati.

That prompted a flurry of action as Kim Kuk-jin tried his luck from some way out but his effort flew well wide before Nouri sliced a volley from the edge of the box horribly off target after the midfielder had made a late run.

The second period began in much the same vein as the opening half.

Mohammad Reza Khalatbari's weak shot was easily dealt with at the near post by Ri Myong-guk in the 58th minute but five minutes later, Iran took the lead.

Nouri latched onto a throw in down the left flank and whipped in a cross that Ansari Fard managed to steer past the diving Ri and into the far corner to send the lively Iranian support into raptures.

Cha Jong-hyok's low shot from 25 yards forced Rahmati into a low save as he scrambled across his goal to palm the ball away to safety.

The North Koreans did begin to show more attacking urgency after falling behind and nearly snatched a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time.

Hong Yong-jo managed to escape the attentions of the Iran defence to collect a low cross, before swivelling and firing a powerful shot from 12 yards, only to see his effort graze the top of the Iran crossbar, much to the forward's anguish as Iran closed out the victory.


11 January 2011

North Korea and UAE draw 0-0 after Koreans miss penalty

DOHA, Jan 11 (Reuters) - North Korea and United Arab Emirates produced the first 0-0 draw of the Asian Cup on Tuesday after the Koreans missed a first-half penalty in an evenly-matched Group D match at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium.

The Koreans squandered the chance to take an early lead after eight minutes when Hong Yong-jo failed from the penalty spot after UAE defender Hamdam Ismaeel sent Korean striker Jong Tae-se sprawling in the box after nudging him in the back.

Malaysian referee Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh awarded him a yellow and not a red card, then the UAE had another let-off when Hong cracked his penalty against the bar.

An entertaining first half produced 14 goal attempts from both sides, although most of them were well off target.

The UAE’s best clearcut chance before the break came after 32 minutes when midfielder Amer Rahman set up Ismail Matar with a perfect through ball but Rahman’s acrobatic volley flew wide of goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk’s right-hand post.

The second half was more of a war of attrition with both defences dominating and although the play continued to switch from end to end, there were few other real scoring chances to entertain the 3,600 fans, the lowest crowd of the tournament so far.

The best save of the match came in the last minute when goalkeeper Ri dived smartly to stop what would have been a late winner for the UAE, hoping to improve on their poor showing in 2007 when they failed to get past the group stage.

10 January 2011

North Korean translator is gatekeeper at Asian Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP)—North Korea’s national team has a simple message for media at the Asian Cup: don’t ask us anything about the isolated country or its regime.

The team’s translator batted away questions Monday on conditions in the country with a curt “come, visit North Korea” and refused to allow the team’s coach Jo Tong Sop to answer it. Other no-go areas included a question about reports of players being sent to a labor camp after its 2010 World Cup failures.

Even Jo responded to a question about possibly facing South Korea in the knockout stage with a gruff insistence that he would only discuss its next opponent, the United Arab Emirates.

Jo dismissed suggestions that the country was closed off, saying he watched occasional Premier League and Bundesliga matches.

04 January 2011

YouTube : Bahrain 0-1 North Korea

North Korea beats Bahrain 1-0 in friendly

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP)—A second-half goal from substitute Chol Hyok gave North Korea a 1-0 victory over Bahrain on Tuesday in a warm-up match before the Asian Cup.

Hyok, who replaced Choe Kum Chol at halftime, collected a cross from Pak Chol Min on the left and fired past Bahrain goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor.

The North Koreans, who played at last year’s World Cup in South Africa, will face a daunting task in Group D as they take on defending champion Iraq, three-time champions Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain is in Group C with Australia, India and South Korea.

Tuesday’s defeat followed a 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in Bahrain’s previous friendly held at the same venue. This time, Bahrain was without new skipper Salman Isa and fullback Abdulla Al Marzooqi, who both tore muscles during the defeat by the Saudis.

The North Koreans were meanwhile lifted by news from Germany where their striker Jong Tae-Se, who plays for second division side Bochum, has been released by his club for the Asian Cup.

The 26-year-old forward has been suffering from a persistent knee injury and his club had hoped he would remain in Germany to concentrate on fully recovering for the second half of the season. But after talks with the player, Bochum agreed to release him for the tournament.

Bahrain striker Jaycee John, who plays in Turkey for first division club Eskisehirspor, came close to giving his side an early lead, but his spectacular header was cleared off the line by North Korea keeper Ri Myong Guk with a finger-tip save.

North Korea’s best chance of the first half came in the 30th minute. Kim Kuk Jin broke through the Bahraini defence on the right before setting up Min whose shot was stopped by Bahrain keeper Mahmood Mansoor.