Negotiating the DPRK and the DMZ
North Korea don’t give in. They fight to the last man. And when you have football thriving in a secret society, get ready for some big surprises. North Korea are destined to be the shock team of South Africa 2010. They have all the ingredients in place to deliver a massive blow to their opponents. Countries that assume North Korea’s weakness in FIFA’s rankings will follow them on to the field will be going home early. North Korea are going to party like it’s 1966.
They were the stuff of legend, dumping Italy out of the tournament, and leading 3-0 against Portugal in the quarter-final only to lose 5-3. Forty-three years ago, they invented the all-out attack, only the goalkeeper stayed behind. The pedestrian tactics of sixties European football were shredded as waves of assault overwhelmed defenses. Now in 2010, North Korea plan a new path to victory. A system built on a defense as impregnable as the DMZ near the 38th Parallel, the dividing line between the two Koreas. Add a quality strike capability and fast breaks loaded with stamina and fitness, and it’s easy to see why North Korea are destined for the second round of the tournament, and possibly beyond.
The team’s Coach Kim Yong Hun, thinks outside the box. In the final qualifying match against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, he sent on attackers with fifteen minutes to go, and with the game tied at 0-0, it was the result the DPRK needed. Throwing on more defenders seemed the logical choice but he knew adding extra bricks to a solid wall was pointless, and potentially unstable. Attacking kept the Saudis anxious, they knew a scoreless tie would secure them a play-off berth, and a pass to the exit for their rivals Iran. The tactics worked. Kim was carried aloft after the final whistle, and back in Pyongyang his seat at the top table was being prepared.
The Chollima, as the North Korean team is called, have a full year to prepare for South Africa. The winged horse of Korean self-reliance will be at full gallop, and in majestic flight come the day they set off to shock the football world.
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