North Korea and its great feat in the World Cup in England 1966

North Korea and its great feat in the World Cup in England 1966
North Korean footballers celebrate qualifying for quarterfinals (KFA Argentina)

Last update July 17, 2020 by Javier Argudo

North Korea attended a World Cup for the first time in its history in the year 1966. The North Korean team was, obviously, the great ‘cinderella’ of that edition held in England. Not in vain, that the Asian team was champion of the World Cup paid 1000 a 1 at leading British bookmakers.

To access that final phase of 16 teams, North Korea had to play a round-robin tie against Australia. Asians beat well, 6-1 Y 1-3 respectively. yes, benefited from the resignation of African teams, who saw the classification format as unfair, as well as other countries in Asia and Oceania.

Thus, 22 North Korean footballers, mostly military of different rank, they represented their country in the eighth World Cup in history. His only demand was, as far as possible, don't make a fool of yourself and, if possible, draw or win a game of the first phase. The USSR, Italy Y Chile would be his rivals in Group D.

Although it has never been officially recognized, it is said that in that England World Cup, only the hymns sounded in the opening match, which pitted the hosts against Uruguay, as well as in the end to avoid the homeland song of North Korea, a country that the English did not yet diplomatically recognize.

Anyway, the North Koreans fell in their first match against the Soviet Union who showed great superiority. The marker was most forceful (3-0). The forecasts of the bookies, moment, they were fulfilled.

The first surprise came in the second shock. Chile expired by 1-0 your party against North Korea what i needed, as a minimum, a tie if you did not want to pack at the first change. The small miracle came just two minutes from the end in the form of a goal by Grab Seung phrase. The tie, kept hopes of qualification alive.

It was then that the great zo bombing came’ of the tournament and one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition. In the third match, Italy seemed too hard a bone for Asians. But nevertheless, one goal Take Doo-Ik (which at that time was corporal), It was enough to beat the team of the Rivera, Mazzolla and company. As an interesting fact to say that the author of both the victory was promoted to sergeant.

The English fan, that from the beginning had sympathized with that selection, celebrated in style his great feat. In the stands, only 12 north korean fans who had traveled thanks to a contest held in their country, they did not believe what they were living.

North Korea 1966
An English sailor jumps onto the pitch to celebrate North Korea's draw against Chile (Haaretz)

That victory surprised everyone, included in the expedition itself North Korea who had already bought the tickets back home and had to change them. further, they had trouble finding a place to stay and ended up in a convent. The opposite occurred with Italy, which was received at the airport by the press and its fans of tomatazos. (literally).

The defeat was so humiliating that the Italians even claimed that their rivals, taking advantage of the great similarity of all its footballers, they did 11 changes in the break to be fresher, for that reason they ran so much and they were not affected by tiredness. evidently, this fact was never proven or even investigated by the FIFA.

North Korea-Italy
The North Korean victory against Italy put the World Cup 1966 upside down (Epic Battles)

So we reached the quarterfinals where North Korea faces should be seen before the Portugal of Eusebio. The fairy tale seemed endless when Asians accomplished more than surprising 3-0 in just half an hour. With that marker we reached the break. In the second part, the lusus put things in place with a tremendous comeback (3-5) with four goals from his big star, ‘The Black Panther’. One of two, or about the 11 changes in rest is an urban legend, o go 11 who played the second part were much worse than those in the first part.

'The 22 soldiers’ Thus they returned to their country where they were received in style. North Korea became the first Asian country to go through to the second phase of a World Cup. It took many years, specifically to 2010, to see the North Korean team again in a World Cup. In that edition, finished last, nothing to do with what was achieved in that historic 1966.

Javier Argudo

PC Football changed my life.

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