Facts & figures: North Korea

Factbox on World Cup qualifiers North Korea: World Cup record:

Previous appearances in finals: One

Best performance: Quarter-finals, 1966

Coach: Kim Jong-hun

With little world-class talent to work with, Kim has guided the North to qualification by instilling military-like defensive discipline on his side and harnessing their patriotic pride.

Reports in Europe suggested the North could bring in a high-profile coach such as Sven-Goran Eriksson for the finals, but Kim is likely to be at the helm in South Africa.

Key players:

Jong Tae-se (Kawasaki Frontale). Age: 25. Forward

Dubbed the 'People's Wayne Rooney' by Asian media, Jong's bustling, all-action style keeps defenders on their toes for 90 minutes. The Japan-based striker is the North's main goal threat, particularly from free kicks.

An Yong-hak (Suwon). Age: 31. Midfielder

A calm, composed presense in front of defence. An's cool head will be needed to slow the pace of North Korea's frenetic game against the world's best in South Africa. The wiry 31-year-old plays club soccer with South Korean side Suwon, earning plaudits for his no-nonsense, tough-tackling style.

FIFA world ranking November 2009: 84

How they qualified:

Finished runners-up to neighbours South Korea to gain one of Asia's four automatic berths. Held their nerve to earn the required point in Saudi Arabia to seal their place in their first finals since 1966.


The surprise package of Asia qualifying, North Korea are unlikely to repeat their shock run to the 1966 quarter-finals. Lack the experience and world-class talent to worry the top teams but their unpredictability on and off the pitch will undoubtedly make them a major talking point in South Africa.