Midfielder An Yong-Hak believes North Korea are mentally tougher than five-time World Cup winners Brazil and hopes it is a factor which could prove decisive in Tuesday's Group G match.
North Korea, who are ranked 105th by FIFA, begin only their second World Cup finals campaign against Brazil in Johannesburg.
"The mentality for victory, strong organisational power and unity in fighting - these attributes are further ahead in us than the Brazil team, I think," An, who plays for Japanese club Omiya Ardija, told South Africa's SuperSport TV.
Defence was a key to North Korea securing a place in South Africa after reaching the knockout stage on their only other appearance in England in 1966.
North Korea did not concede a goal in six games in the third-round group stage during qualifying, and a hard-fought goalless draw in Saudi Arabia in the final round secured qualification.
"We are grouped with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast, but we will do our best with strong mentality and organisational power in order to send good news to our country and people," An added.