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NORTH KOREA DPR national football team profile

North Korea or Korea DPR seemingly came from nowhere to storm into the Asian Zone’s final round of qualifying, where they defied sizeable odds to take one of the continent’s four automatic spots at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. In a sense they lived up to their long-standing reputation as Asia’s surprise packages, their qualifying success marking a return to world football’s top table for the first time since going all the way to the last eight in 1966.

North Korea DPR national football team

After spending nearly 30 years in wilderness, the past decade saw the revival of the nation’s footballing fortunes. With their women’s football teams running riot at all levels on the international scene, the men’s side came close to qualifying for Germany 2006 before successfully negotiating the road to South Africa 2010.

North Korea’s road to South Africa
To reach the 2010 showpiece, Korea DPR went through a gruelling qualifying campaign spanning 20 months and a whopping 16 games. They made light work of Mongolia in the Asian Zone’s first qualifying round, winning both home and away to earn a bye to the third round as one of the 11 highest-ranked first-round winners. Once there, they finished second in their group behind southern neighbours Korea Republic to qualify for the final round.

There they got off to a brilliant start by defeating UAE 2-1, before holding Korea Republic to a 1-1 draw. Despite losing to Iran 2-1 in the next game, they bounced back with a 1-0 home win against Saudi Arabia. Even a 1-0 loss to Korea Republic did not dent their chances too badly, followed as it was with a draw against Iran which kept them in second place. Needing just a point against Saudi Arabia in the closing game to qualify, they bravely held on for a goalless draw to seal their passage.

Star players of North Korea
Two-thirds of the squad come from domestic clubs, though their small overseas-based contingent are vital cogs in the Korean machine. FC Rostov’s Hong Yong-Jo was in lethal form up front, the 27-year-old goalgetter scoring four times in as many games. Playing alongside him is Japan-based Jong Tae-Se, who has the power and pace to breach any rearguard. Home-based midfielder Mun In-Guk is the man who makes the team tick, while keeper Ri Myong-Guk’s safe hands and agility can be relied upon between the sticks.

The coach of North Korea
Coach Kim Jong-Hun was only ten years old when the Chollima made history at England 1966 and now, 43 years on, he was the man who guided them back to the pinnacle of world football. Given his squad largely consists of domestic-based players lacking in international experience, the strategist favours a pragmatic and defensive approach based around discipline and teamwork.

Previous FIFA World Cups
Going into the global showpiece as debutants in England in 1966, the unfancied East Asians undid European heavyweights Italy with a single-goal victory to march into the quarter-finals. In what remains one of the all-time classic encounters in FIFA World Cup history, they flew into a three-goal lead against Portugal within 25 minutes, only for Eusebio to go on to strike no fewer than four times in a 5-3 comeback win for the Selecção das Quinas.

Records of North Korea

  • Korea DPR reached the last eight in their last and only previous appearance at the finals of a FIFA World Cup.

North Korea national football team Squad


Nr. Name Date of Birth Position Clubs Height
1 RI Myong Guk 09/09/1986 GK Pyongyang City (PRK) 187
2 CHA Jong Hyok 25/09/1985 DF Amrokgang (PRK) 178
3 RI Jun Il 24/08/1987 DF Sobaeksu (PRK) 178
4 PAK Nam Chol 02/07/1985 MF April 25 (PRK) 172
5 RI Kwang Chon 04/09/1985 DF April 25 (PRK) 183
6 KIM Kum Il 10/10/1987 MF April 25 (PRK) 170
7 AN Chol Hyok 27/06/1987 FW Rimyongsu (PRK) 178
8 JI Yun Nam 20/11/1976 DF April 25 (PRK) 172
9 JONG Tae Se 02/03/1984 FW Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) 181
10 HONG Yong Jo 22/05/1982 FW FK Rostov (RUS) 174
11 MUN In Guk 29/09/1978 MF April 25 (PRK) 167
12 CHOE Kum Chol 09/02/1987 FW April 25 (PRK) 178
13 PAK Chol Jin 05/09/1985 DF Amrokgang (PRK) 184
14 PAK Nam Chol 03/10/1988 DF Amrokgang (PRK) 183
15 KIM Yong Jun 19/07/1983 MF Pyongyang City (PRK) 182
16 NAM Song Chol 07/05/1982 DF April 25 (PRK) 178
17 AN Yong Hak 25/10/1978 MF Omiya Ardija (JPN) 182
18 KIM Myong Gil 16/10/1984 GK Amrokgang (PRK) 181
19 RI Chol Myong 18/02/1988 MF Pyongyang City (PRK) 173
20 KIM Myong Won 15/07/1983 GK Amrokgang (PRK) 180
21 RI Kwang Hyok 17/08/1987 DF Kyonggongop (PRK) 178
22 KIM Kyong Il 11/12/1988 MF Rimyongsu (PRK) 174
23 PAK Sung Hyok 30/05/1990 MF Sobaeksu (PRK) 175

Coach: KIM Jong Hun (PRK)

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