Watching the World Cup in North Korea

Seeing as I’m trying to avoid writing about Cambodia on every single post here’s a 10 year throwback – the 2010 World Cup in North Korea.

Pretty much 10 years ago today I was preparing to head to North Korea for the YPT football tour to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

And what a time to plan a football trip. North Korea had qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This was the first World Cup they had qualified since the legendary team of 1966. I won’t go into huge detail about the history of football in North Korea (you can read that here), but let’s just say it was quite the achievement.

Our group of 6 arrived in the country with the plan to watch 2 of the 3 group matches as well as see some of the big sites and even play a bit of football.

We arrived just in time to watch the North Korea vs Brazil game. Sadly it wasn’t screened live, although when we watched it at the Rakwon Beer Bar we didn’t know the result. North Korea put in a stunning performance, but were eventually beaten 2-1. Contrary to the trash you see in western media North Korea knew the CORRECT result and were proud to lose 2-1 to the mighty Brazil.

Aside from the usual tourist crap we also managed to score a trip to Kim Il Sung Stadium where we ended up playing football with the National under 16 team. Holy crap they were good. My one claim to fame here was getting a round of applause as whilst trying to chest the ball I controlled it with my belly!

The last match we were to see was against Portugal and we ended up at the Random Access Club. The RAC is the most surreal bar in North Korea as it is run by the United Nations. As such our Korean comrades did not join us inside.

And as for the match! The North Koreans put it on state TV with a one minute lag, sadly this did not help with the result, 7-1 to Portugal.

Once again and contrary to trash media, North Koreans not only knew the result, but were pissed about it. As always the truth never gets in the way of a good story.

I now find it crazy that one of the best trips I’ve ever had to North Korea now cane over 10 years ago!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to go if they ever make it to the World Cup again. For now I’d settle for a simple end to COVID-19…

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