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North Korea

North Korea

Team Widget

Team Profile: North Korea

GettyImagesPak Doo-Ik's goal downed mighty Italy in 1966

Appearances at finals:
1966 - Quarter-finals

Overall record at finals: Played 4, Won 1, Drawn 1, Lost 2.

Best performance: Quarter-finals in 1966.

Most appearances at finals (starts only): Li Chan-Myong (1966), Shin Yung-Kyoo (1966), Lim Zoong-Sun (1966), Im Seung-Hwi (1966), Pak Doo-Ik (1966), Pak Seung-Zin (1966), Han Bong-Jin (1966) - 4.

Most goals at finals: Pak Seung-Zin (1966) - 2.

World Cup high: The 1-0 win over Italy to secure progress to the quarter-finals in 1966 is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in football history and is the subject of a documentary, The Game of Their Lives.

World Cup low: After going 3-0 up inside the first 22 minutes,losing 5-3 to a Eusebio-inspired Portugal in the last eight in 1966 to exit the tournament.

World Cup legend: Pak Do-Ik was the scorer as North Korea upset Italy in Middlesbrough. He was promoted from corporal to sergeant in the North Korean army after the win.

The story so far: North Korea's only appearance at the World Cup finals came on English soil in 1966 after defeating Australia in a play-off. A 3-0 defeat at the hands of USSR in the opener did not bode well for the team, but they rallied to draw 1-1 with Chile and then beat then-two-time winners Italy 1-0.

All group stage matches were played at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough, where the locals adopted the team due to their humble approach and underdog status. If it wasn't for Eusebio's four goals in Portugal's record-equalling comeback from 3-0 down to win 5-3, North Korea would have faced England in the semi-finals.

Qualification: North Korea are the only Asian team in South Africa who came through from the first round of qualifying, where they disposed of Mongolia 9-2 on aggregate. They came through the first group stage comfortably alongside fierce rivals South Korea, who they were again grouped with in the final round.

North Korea were forced to play their 'home' games against their southern neighbours in neutral Shanghai after plans to ban South Korea's flags and national anthem caused uproar. The nation came through on goal difference ahead of the more fancied Iran and Saudi Arabia sides thanks to a sturdy defence that shipped just five goals in eight matches.

Qualifying record (final group stage): P8, W3, D3, L2, F7, A5, Pts12.

Most appearances: Ri Jun-Il, Mun In-Guk (8).

Top goalscorer: Mun In-Guk (2).