Christchurch: DPR Korea bowed out of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup after three second-half goals saw the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship runners-up go down 3-0 to Brazil in their third and final fixture in New Zealand on Sunday.
The North Koreans had kept out a dominant Brazil up until the hour mark when the unfortunate Min Hyo-song deflected the ball into his own net before Jean Carlos doubled the Selecao Sub-20s advantage just six minutes later.
And with four minutes left on the clock Leo Pereira made it 3-0 for the five-time champions, who advance to the Round of 16 as Group E winners with a 100% record, while DPR Korea prop up the table following prior defeats to Hungary (5-1) and second-place Nigeria (4-0).
Looking to avoid another heavy defeat, DPR Korea coach An Ye-gun went with an understandably defensive set up and largely restricted the superior South Americans to efforts from distance.
The East Asians’ resilience finally cracked in the 60th minute when – having earlier ridden their luck with Kim Kuk-chol clearing Malcom’s shot off the line before Guilherme struck the post and then Judivan blazing over with the goal at his mercy – conceded in unfortunate circumstances.
Jaja attempted a pile-driver from some 35-yards out and the Flamengo midfielder’s effort took a wicked deflection off of the luckless April 25 defender that gave no chance to Ri In-hak in the Korean goal.
Brazil doubled their lead six minutes later through second-half substitute Jean Carlos, with some nimble footwork from the Real Madrid man leading to an assured finish past Amrokgang keeper Ri before Leo Pereira headed home the third in the 86th minute as DPR Korea became the third Asian side to exit the tournament without a single point following a disappointing campaigns from Asian champions Qatar and tournament debutants Myanmar.
“We have gained a lot of experience here in New Zealand,” DPR Korea coach An reflected after a campaign that saw the young Chollima concede 12 times over their three matches in New Zealand.
“The Asian style of football is completely different to the one in Europe and South America. This was an important lesson for my players. What is still missing for us compared to the top teams? The individual skills! We will work hard in the future, especially in the defence, too. Hopefully we will see some of these players at a full World Cup at some point in the next few years.