WORLD CUP HISTORY: South Africa will be North Korea’s second World Cup. In 1966, North Korea qualified for its first World Cup where they produced one of the tournament’s greatest shocks, beating Italy 1-0 to progress to the quarter-finals where it fell to Portugal in a 5-3 barnburner.
QUALIFICATION: North Korea’s qualification for South Africa is a huge surprise. The unknowns entered Asian qualifying in the earliest round with a win over Mongolia, which puts their journey into perspective. In the final round, North Korea beat out favoured Saudi Arabia and Iran for a spot at the World Cup, despite not scoring in their final three matches.
KEY PLAYER: Jong Tae-Se. If North Korea holds out any hopes of a successful World Cup campaign, it will have to score. On a team of players unknown to the rest of the world, Jong Tae-Se is the key man. The striker is one of just a handful of players to ply their trade outside of North Korea, having had success in Japan’s J-League.
EXPECTATIONS: North Korean fans can dream of a repeat of their performance at the 1966 World Cup, but in truth it simply will not happen. Group G is by far the toughest group of them all, and it is highly unlikely this squad will manage a point against the likes of Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast.