Apart from the fact that they are extreme long shots to win tomorrow’s match against Brazil—and their unfortunate mistake in listing their striker, Kim Myong-Won, as a goalkeeper—the North Korean side remains shrouded in mystery. Placed at 105 in the global rankings by FIFA, only a handful of the country’s players have experience playing abroad. But—as TNR noted in December—an upset tomorrow would not be the first time the North Koreans shocked the soccer world:
North Korea’s 1966 upset over Italy is not only a seminal moment in North Korean sporting history; it was also the first time that an Asian team had qualified for the World Cup quarterfinals--and the last one for 36 years, until the South Koreans made it to the semi-finals in the 2002 cup. That same year, a British film crew managed to interview some of the surviving members of the 1966 North Korea team and released a documentary film chronicling their experiences, The Game of their Lives. (Watch the trailer here.)
And that’s just one of 5 Things You Don’t Know About North Korean Soccer.