Monday, July 6, 2009

Inspiration from North Korea (football)

I completely agree with Baichung Bhutia that the Indian team should draw inspiration from the North Korea team that qualified to the 2010 World Cup (

The North Korean team qualified for the next World Cup to be held in South Africa after a gap of 44 years. They qualified ahead of Asian powerhouses like Iran and the UAE. Back in 1966, North Korea had a fairy tale run at the World Cup and became the first Asian nation to cross the first round hurdle. They reached the quaterfinals (after beating Italy in the previous round) and were leading 3-0 against Portugal before the Eusebio magic swept them aside. Eusebio scored 4 goals in that match and Potugal won 5-3.

North Korea were the only Asian country to reach the quarterfinals of a World Cup only to be bettered by their souther compatriots in 2002 (ironically) . For those of us who are interested, there is a documentary film by Daniel Gordon based on seven surviving members of the 1966 World Cup team called "The Game of their Lives". Unfortunately, it was released in October 2002 after South Korea had eclipsed the feat acheived by North Korea. Nevertheless, it is still worth watching!!!

It is quite interesting to note that the same North Korean team that has qualified for the 2010 World Cup also played in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup (incidently won by the Indian national team). Now add that to everything Baichung said...2018 may not be a distant dream!!!

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