Long relegated to football wilderness (the last time they made an appearance in the tournament was in 1966) Korea DPR – aka North Korea – weren’t expected to make much of a splash in 2010. But with shock wins over Saudi Arabia and the UAE in a gruelling 16-match qualification run, they came up trumps. In a twist of fate, their second fixture is against Portugal, the team that crushed them 5-3 in the 1966 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals.
Something of a star in North Korea, Kim Jong-Hun (below) has been credited with the rise of a squad that collectively has the least international experience in the world. As a strategist, his emphasis is firmly on the defence.
Player to watch
One of the few players to play internationally, Hong Yong-Jo (circle pic), currently playing for Rostov FC, captained the side to their current success, scoring four goals in as many games.
We’re on the ball
World Cup appearances: 1
Previous best: Quarter-finals (1966)
Odds of winning: 2,000/1
Strange but true: Korea DPR won 21-0 in 2006. Against Guam.
Fixtures: Brazil, June 15, 10.30pm, Johannesburg Portugal, June 21, 3.30pm, Cape Town Cote d’Ivoire, June 25, 6pm, Nelspruit