North Korea wins its second straight game to advance to the round of 16.
North Korea’s men’s national soccer team, led by head coach Kim Jong-nam, won their second Group F match of the Hangzhou Asian Games 1-0 against Kyrgyzstan at the Jinhua Zhejiang Provincial Sabodae East Stadium in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China on Wednesday. Kim Kuk-jin scored the game-winning goal in the 20th minute to secure the victory. With their second straight win, the DPRK secured the top spot in Group F and a spot in the Round of 16. North Korea defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the first leg on Sept. 19. Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei, which lost to North Korea in the first round, bounced back with a 1-0 win over Indonesia. Taiwan and Indonesia each have one win and one loss. Kyrgyzstan has two losses. If North Korea finishes first in Group F, they could face South Korea in the final. On the other hand, if they finish second in Group F, they will face South Korea in the round of 16. South Korea clinched their spot in the round of 16 with back-to-back wins over Kuwait and Thailand.
North Korea stuck with the same starting lineup against Chinese Taipei. The plan seemed to be to clinch the round of 16 early. “We prove it with results,” said Shin. The results will prove (our ability). On the field, the winner is the winner,” Shin said.
The lid was lifted. Once again, North Korea exploded for an early goal. Kim Kook Jin opened the scoring in the 20th minute. It was the second straight game that Kim has scored. He scored in the 12th minute of the first half against Chinese Taipei. With a 1-0 lead, North Korea didn’t let up. Kyrgyzstan’s frustratingly rough play led to a series of yellow cards. North Korea stayed focused until the end to seal the win. On this day, North Korea had a “one-shot-one-kill” offense, converting just one shot on goal. Kyrgyzstan hung their heads in shame, unable to get a single shot off.
North Korea was a force to be reckoned with in its return to international competition. North Korea hasn’t been seen on the international stage since the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. It unilaterally withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, citing COVID-19. It was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The suspension was lifted on Dec. 31 last year.
After a period of silence, North Korea has been slowly making its way back into international competition this year. It has registered a total of 191 athletes – 112 women and 79 men – in 18 events.
In soccer alone, it was North Korea’s first international appearance in three years and eight months. It’s been three years and eight months since North Korea last competed at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 tournament in January 2020. “We haven’t played in an international tournament for about four years (actually three years and eight months),” Shin said. We trained well domestically and maintained the potential and ability of our team through matches between (domestic) teams. I can’t define our strengths because the tournament is still ongoing. Everything is proved by the results. We trained a lot for this tournament.”온라인바카라
Meanwhile, North Korean supporters wearing matching white T-shirts drew attention to the stadium. North Korea also drew attention in the first game against Taiwan when a group of four women came to the soccer field. In the second game, more people showed up to support the team.