North Korea is ranked #105 and Brazil is currently ranked #1 in the FIFA world rankings. Most people expected a complete wash-out of North Korea, and it was a matter of how many goals Brazil will put through to this very inexperienced side. I, as a South Korean, expected something close to a 5-0 defeat for North Korea. After all, in 1998, against the experienced Dutch team, South Korea fell 5-0 in a miserable defeat, and this North Korean squad has even less experience in the World Cup stage against one of the mightiest teams of Central America.
We all came in for a big surprise!
The first half was a deadlock in which the Brazilian offense could not find a hole in the tight defense of North Korea. I wonder how the Brazilian squad felt as they went into the locker room with a 0-0 draw after 45 minutes of play. It was something nobody expected!
However the Samba squad did come up with an answer in the second period. Exploiting the inexperienced goalkeeping of the Communist Korean squad, Maicon of Brazil struck to exploit the short-side gap that was open. The North Korea goalkeeper, Lee, was expecting a cross through and was completely out of position to take the short-side exploit. 1-0 Brazil it is. By the time Brazil added another goal to make it a 2-0 lead, it seemed like all hope was lost, and it was back to the original bet of how many goals Brazil would score upon North Korea before the 90 minutes was over. Boy were we wrong! Ji Yun Nam receives a beautiful header pass from the wing, dribbles, it through and scores a stunner against Brazil. The moment when North Korea scored that goal, the Brazil coaching staff had the “Oh fuck..” look on their faces.
However that was it for North Korea – after a valiantly fought battle against one of the most decorated teams in World Cup history, they went down 2-1, but with their heads held high. Good for them!