From British daily The Guardian:
Forty-three years after success in England, North returns to football’s big stage
* Justin McCurry Tokyo
* Friday 19 June 2009
It could be a genuine game of two halves. Forty-three years after they stunned the world by reaching the quarter-finals in England in 1966, North Korea have qualified for the World Cup finals – setting up the tantalising possibility of a match with South Korea.
A North Korean victory over the old enemy or its other great nemesis, the US – who are on the verge of qualification – would be exploited for every last ounce of propaganda value in Pyongyang. …
Jong, who was born to South Korean parents, is regarded as something of a socialist poster boy after rejecting offers from Japan and South Korea to represent the North. …
Yet North Korea’s only previous appearance in the World Cup suggests the Italians [current world champions] have reason to fear the men they called the Red Mosquitoes.
At their last meeting, at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, in 1966, North Korea stunned the football world with a 1-0 win. While the Italians dodged a hail of rotten tomatoes on their arrival in Rome, the victors endeared themselves to their hosts during the tournament.
In the quarter final against Portugal, North Korea went 3-0 up, only to lose 5-3 after a Eusebio-inspired comeback.
Few believe the current team will revisit those heady days: bookmakers are offering odds of 750-1 on North Korea to lift the World Cup. The best they can hope for is another famous victory, perhaps against the US or South Korea.
Japan: Communists Protest Call for Using SDF to Inspect North Korean Cargo Ships: here.
North Korea to restart exchanges with South: here.
South Korea is poised to launch its first rocket into orbit, just four months after Pyongyang launched its own and was immediately slapped with UN sanctions: here.