Little is known about the secretive North Korea. But we know they play football and enjoy the beautiful game. They have a national football team that has engaged in footballing tournaments. Here are facts about the Senior North Korea football team you never knew.
1. The North Korean football team was established in 1945 by the DPR Korea Football Association. They won their first ever international match against China 1-0 in 1956. They have qualified for the world cup twice in 1966 and 2010. They have also qualified for the AFC Asian Cup four times.
2. They have qualified for the FIFA world cup twice in 1966 and 2010. In 1966 they shocked the world by beating Italy 1-0 to qualify for the quarterfinals. In the semifinals they lost 5-3 to a Eusebio lead Portuguese team, after lead 3-0 in thirty minutes.
3. As of September 2017, North Korea were ranked 124 in the latest FIFA ranking. There achieved their highest FIFA ranking on November 1993, ranking 57. Their lowest was 181, on November 1998.
4. North Korea is currently coached by Jørn Andersen. A former striker of the Norwegian national team. He played for many teams including Vålerenga, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburger SV and FC Zurich. After coaching many European teams he resigned as coach of Austria Salzburg in December 2015. Andersen was later appointed as manager of North Korea in May 2016.
5. The North Korea football team behave like soldiers. With majority of the players consisted of officials from the Workers Party of Korea as well as officials from the military.
6. The most capped football player in their history is Ri Myong-guk, a goalkeeper who has played 89 matches for the senior side. In 2009 he was nominated for the 2009 Asian Footballer of the Year award. And guess what, both his father and uncle played as goalkeepers for the national team.
7. After the World Cup in 2010, they were rumours that the North Korean football team were embarrass and punished for losing heavily. These reports of the team being punished or even executed were not confirmed by any real sources though.
8. The national team’s all time topscorer is Jong Tae-se, a Japanese-born striker, with 15 goals. He has played for German clubs VfL Bochum and FC Köln. However, he currently playa for Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League as their captain.
9. The home stadium of the National team is the Kim Il-sung Stadium, a 50,000 capacity stadium established in 1926.
10. The national team’s biggest ever win was against Guam, a 21-0 thrashing on March 2005. While they biggest loss was against Portugal in the 2010 World Cup, it ended 7-0.
Wow! A lot of amazing facts right? Please do comment and don’t forget to share!