North Korea national football team
The North Korea national football team (Korean: 조선민주주의인민공화국 축구 국가대표팀, recognized as Korea DPR by FIFA) represents North Korea in men's international football and it is controlled by the DPR Korea Football Association, the governing body for Football in North Korea. The team represents both FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
|Association||DPR Korea Football Association|
|Sub-confederation||EAFF (East Asia)|
|Head coach||Yun Jong-su|
|Most caps||Ri Myong-guk (118)|
|Top scorer||Jong Il-gwan (26)|
|Home stadium||Kim Il-sung Stadium|
|Current||109 (27 May 2021)|
|Highest||57 (November 1993)|
|Lowest||181 (October – November 1998)|
| North Korea 1–0 China PR |
(Beijing, China; 7 October 1956)
| North Korea 21–0 Guam |
(Taipei, Taiwan; 11 March 2005)
| Portugal 7–0 North Korea |
(Cape Town, South Africa; 21 June 2010)
|Appearances||2 (first in 1966)|
|Best result||Quarter-finals, 1966|
|Appearances||5 (first in 1980)|
|Best result||Fourth place, 1980|
|AFC Challenge Cup|
|Appearances||3 (first in 2008)|
|Best result||Champions, 2010 and 2012|
|EAFF E-1 Football Championship|
|Appearances||4 (first in 2005)|
|Best result||Third place, 2005 and 2015|
|North Korea national football team|
|Revised Romanization||Joseon Minjujuui Inmin Gonghwaguk Chukgu Gukga Daepyo Tim|
|McCune–Reischauer||Chosŏn Minjujuǔi Mingonghwaguk Ch'ukgu Kukka Taep'yo T'im|
|Revised Romanization||Joseon Minjujuui Inmin Gonghwaguk Gukga Jonghap Tim|
|McCune–Reischauer||Chosŏn Minjujuǔi Inmin Konghwaguk Kukka Chonghap T'im|
North Korea surprised with a good showing at their World Cup debut, reaching the quarter-finals in 1966, beating Italy in the group stage, being the first Asian team in history to make it past the group stage. During the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, controversy arose when the team's supporters rioted, interfering with the opponents' safe egress from the stadium, because of North Korea's failure to qualify. In 2009, the team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the second World Cup appearance in their history. North Korea has qualified for the AFC Asian Cup five times; in 1980, when they finished fourth, in 1992, 2011, in 2015, and in 2019. The current team is composed of both native North Koreans and Chongryon-affiliated Koreans born in Japan.
|—||South Africa (D)||0||–||–||–||–||–||—||0|
|—||South Korea (W)||0||–||–||–||–||–||—||0|
(D) Disqualified; (W) Withdrew
In the 1966 World Cup, North Korea played their matches at Middlesbrough's home ground Ayresome Park, when the team caused an upset, beating Italy 1–0 to gain a spot in the quarter-finals. There, they lost 5–3 to Portugal, despite taking a 3–0 lead after thirty minutes. The North Korea team was the first team from outside Europe or the Americas to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup finals. In a 1999 documentary featuring interviews with surviving members of the team, they describe themselves as having been welcomed home as national heroes.
Referee: Juan Gardeazábal Garay (Spain)
Referee: Ali Kandil (United Arab Republic)
1976 Olympic football tournament
1982 Asian Games
Upon losing in the semi-finals at the Asian Games, the team's bronze medal match with Saudi Arabia was scratched and the later awarded the bronze medal 2–0 after the North Korean team (including officials and competitors from other sports) were handed a two-year suspension for assaulting the referee, Vijit Getkaew of Thailand, and his linesman following the conclusion of their semi-final against Kuwait.
2006 World Cup qualifying stage controversy
In March 2005, the North Korean team was playing against Iran in Pyongyang when North Korean fans became enraged when the referee failed to award North Korea a penalty kick after a controversial incident near the end of the match. Demanding a penalty, the North Korean footballers rushed Syrian referee Mohamed Kousa, who instead gave a North Korean player a red card. Bottles, stones and chairs were thrown onto the field following the play. After the match was over, North Korean fans refused to let the Iranian team leave the stadium on their team bus. The violence was so severe that riot police forced back the crowd. Following this incident, North Korea lost its right to host the subsequent home match with Japan and the game was instead played behind closed doors in Bangkok, Thailand.
The North Korea football team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after finishing 2nd place in Group B of Asian qualifying. Their finishing place was not decided until the day of the last fixture of the group, in which they needed not only to avoid defeat in a match against Saudi Arabia, but also relied on Iran losing to South Korea. After the Koreans scored the same number of points as Saudi Arabia, North Korea qualified through goal difference. With a final pre-tournament FIFA ranking of 105th in the world, North Korea was the lowest-ranked team to qualify for the World Cup since the rankings began in 1993.
|United Arab Emirates||8||0||1||7||6||17||−11||1|
2010 was North Korea's first appearance at the World Cup since 1966. The draw placed North Korea in Group G. They played their first match against five-time winners Brazil on 15 June. Despite playing close, they were nevertheless outmatched and lost 1–2. In their next game against Portugal on 21 June, they were defeated 0–7. Despite starting well (as against Brazil), their defensive and well organised approach unravelled after Portugal scored on them. The Koreans lost their final match against Ivory Coast 0–3 on 25 June. Having lost all three group matches, they were knocked out, finishing at the bottom of Group G. It was reported that the small contingency of apparent North Korean football fans were actually Chinese people who bought tickets reserved for North Korean government officials. North Korea subsequently denied the report, and claimed instead that the Chinese were small in number, and that the regime had permitted their travel.
|1||Brazil||3||2||1||0||5||2||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|Report||Ji Yun-Nam 89'|
Tiago 60', 89'
North Korea failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with the team losing to Uzbekistan and Japan. North Korea also failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when the team suffered an unexpected defeat to the Philippines in the final game of the second round. A win would have ensured North Korea to progress as one of four best runners-up behind Uzbekistan; instead, North Korea missed out in favor of China.
North Korea on the time secured their participation in three consecutive Asian Cups, the 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions. However, North Korea performed poorly in both tournaments: North Korea obtained only one point in the 2011 edition, a goalless draw against the United Arab Emirates, and had suffered eight consecutive game losses in the tournament following the draw. In that shortcoming era, North Korea appointed the country's first foreign manager since 1993, when Norway-born Jørn Andersen coached North Korea. He was fired despite the team managing to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup.
All Time Results
The following table shows North Korea's all-time international record, correct as of 1 Jan 2021.
Recent results and fixtures
|March 2021 2022 FWC Q||North Korea||cancelled||Sri Lanka||Pyongyang, North Korea|
|Stadium: Kim Il-sung Stadium|
|June 2021 2022 FWC Q||South Korea||cancelled||North Korea||Seoul, South Korea|
|Stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium|
FIFA World Cup
AFC Asian Cup
- Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
AFC Challenge Cup record
|AFC Challenge Cup Finals|
|2006||Did not enter|
|2014||Did not enter|
East Asian Cup
|Head coach||Yun Jong-su||North Korean|
|Assistant coach||Kim Yong-jun||North Korean|
|Assistant coach||Rim Kuk-uk||North Korean|
|Assistant coach||Pak Kyong-chol||North Korean|
|Team analyst||Choe Chol-bom||North Korean|
|Interpreter||Kim Chung-jin||North Korean|
|Massage therapist||Ri Song-chol||North Korean|
|Team coordinator||Jong Tae-hyok||North Korean|
|Doctor||Hong Myong-song||North Korean|
|Video analyst||Kim In-chol||North Korean|
|Technical director||Choe Myong-il||North Korean|
The following 23 players were selected for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Turkmenistian and Lebanon on 14 and 19 November 2019, respectively.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|23||GK||Ri Kwang-il||13 April 1988||7||0||Sobaeksu|
|1||GK||An Tae-song||21 October 1993||6||0||April 25|
|21||GK||Sin Hyok||3 July 1992||1||0||Kigwancha|
|3||DF||Jang Kuk-chol||16 February 1994||62||5||Hwaebul|
|13||DF||Sim Hyon-jin||1 January 1991||41||2||April 25|
|16||DF||Pak Myong-song||31 March 1994||23||0||April 25|
|6||DF||Kim Chol-bom||16 July 1994||23||0||April 25|
|2||DF||Ri Thong-il||20 November 1992||10||1||Kigwancha|
|17||DF||Ri Chang-ho||4 January 1990||7||0||Hwaebul|
|18||DF||Ri Yong-chol||8 January 1991||5||0||Hwaebul|
|5||DF||Hong Jin-song||22 February 1994||3||0||Unattached|
|11||MF||Jong Il-gwan (captain)||30 October 1992||76||26||Rimyongsu|
|15||MF||Ri Un-chol||13 July 1995||25||1||Sonbong|
|12||MF||Ri Yong-jik||8 February 1991||23||1||Tokyo Verdy|
|8||MF||Han Thae-hyok||20 June 1988||6||0||Kigwancha|
|10||MF||Kim Kum-chol||7 April 1997||5||0||Rimyongsu|
|19||MF||Song Jong-hyok||28 June 1995||3||0||Hwaebul|
|4||MF||Choe Song-hyok||28 February 1998||2||0||Unattached|
|9||FW||Pak Kwang-ryong||27 September 1992||41||14||St. Pölten|
|14||FW||Kim Yong-il||6 July 1994||19||1||Kigwancha|
|7||FW||Han Kwang-song||11 September 1998||10||1||Al-Duhail|
|20||FW||Pak Hyon-il||21 September 1993||8||2||Amnokgang|
|22||FW||Choe Ju-song||27 January 1996||6||0||Amnokgang|
The following players have been called up to the North Korea squad within the last twelve months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
- Nehru Cup
- Champions (1): 1993
- Hero Intercontinental Cup
- Champions (1): 2019
- AFC Challenge Cup
- Champions (2): 2010, 2012
- Asian Games
- Champions (1):1978
Since 2014, North Korea's official kit provider is currently produced by the North Korean sports company Choeusu.
- Football in North Korea
- North Korea–South Korea football rivalry
- The Game of Their Lives (2002 film)
- Montague, James (12 December 2017). "Inside the Secret World of Football in North Korea". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
- North Korea matches, ratings and points exchanged
- "World Cup 2010 team guide: North Korea". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "When Middlesbrough hosted the 1966 World Cup Koreans". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "The Game of their Lives". BBC News. Archived from the original on 3 September 2010.
- "XXI. Olympiad Montreal 1976 Football Tournament". rsssf.com. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "N Korea football violence erupts". BBC News. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Peck, Grant (6 July 2005). "No fans allowed at Japan, North Korea qualifying match". USA Today. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "North Korea qualify for World Cup". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "World Cup guide – North Korea". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "Groups and Standings". FIFA. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "North Korea revive World Cup memories". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- Holton, Kate (15 June 2010). "Chinese 'volunteer army' arrive to back North Korea". Reuters. Pretoria, South Africa. Retrieved 13 July 2010. Indicating only that Chinese supporters of North Korea were present, but not necessarily excluding North Korean fans.
- Frayer, Lauren (16 June 2010). "Diplomats: North Korean Soccer Fans Are Genuine". Aol News. Cape Town, South Africa. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "South Korea: North Koreans pull out of World Cup qualifying". AP NEWS. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
- "Latest update on Asian Qualifiers". Asian Football Confederation. 16 May 2021.
- Mamrud, Roberto. "North Korea - Record International Players". RSSSF.
- "Home-made Football Popular among DPRK People". KCNA. 1 July 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- Blog about football Democratic People's Republic of Korea (in Italian)
- Korea DPR by FIFA, 15 June 2010
- North Korea – The World Cup's Mystery Men by BBC News, 9 June 2010
- The story of North Korea at the 1966 World Cup, BBC News, 15 June 2010
- Video of Italy's shock loss to North Korea in the World Cup 1966 by Youtube.com, 15 June 2010
- Northern Exposure: The People's Team Abroad by Soccerlens, 25 July 2010