Tuesday, June 15, 2010

England 1966 is the Inspiration for the Chollimas: Brazil vs North Korea

North Korea is going to face mighty Brazil in the first match of their second ever World Cup mission. North Korea’s only previous appearance in World Cup finals came in 1966 when the tournament was held in England. Now, ahead of the opening game against Brazil on Tuesday, North Korea’s performance in 1966 seems to be the source of their inspiration.

In 1966 World Cup, the Chollimas (nick name of North Korean football team) created one of the biggest shocks in the history of World Cup as they defeated mighty Italy who had the players like Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera. The 1-0 win came as a big shock to the football world as it was Korea’s first appearance in World Cup.

With that victory, North Korea joined Soviet Union to reach the quarter final from Group 4. Determined Koreans went even very close to create another surprise when they took a 3-0 lead over Portugal within 25 minutes of the quarter final match. However, it was Eusébio who saved Portugal’s face by scoring 4 goals in the match, and thus, helping his team to secure a 5-3 victory.

North Korea was thus knocked out of the tournament and since then they could not create any more surprise in world football. In fact, North Korea failed to qualify for any other World Cup finals until the ongoing tournament in South Africa.

So, World Cup 2010 is a big tournament for the North Koreans who are looking to emulate the success of their predecessors. In Group G, North Korea would once again face Portugal, alongside Brazil and Ivory Coast.

Reality may not suggest that North Korea has a chance to get into the next stage from the group, but the situation was same in 1966 too. So, North Koreans seek inspirations from 1966 World Cup ahead of their match against Brazil at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

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