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The Game of Their Lives - Part 둘
June 16, 2010 2:26 PM   Subscribe

North Korea played in the World Cup in 1966 [BBC Documentary on YouTube]. The 1966 World Cup was the subject of bitter disagreement before a ball was ever kicked. Sixteen African nations boycotted the tournament in protest of a 1964 FIFA ruling that required the champion team from the African zone to enter a playoff round against the winners of either the Asian or the Oceania zone in order to win a place in the Cup.

When South Korea pulled out, this left only Australia and a diplomatically problematic Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the running for the single coveted place in the Cup for the entire African/Asian/Oceania zones.

The Australians expected to win on a neutral football pitch in Cambodia...


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Recent use of "The Game of Their Lives" title.
posted by vectr (22 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yesterday's game was fantastic, by the way. I wish, for the players' sakes, that it could've gone the other way, but they played their hearts out.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:46 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the game against Brazil was awesome. All the players seemed to be really friendly to one another as well. It was a nice change and pace.
posted by chunking express at 2:50 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The prospect of disappoint Dear Leader must make the players Il.
posted by mreleganza at 2:51 PM on June 16, 2010


Been a few good games so far, the Swiss/Spain game was fun despite, or perhaps because of the teeth gnashing/sour grapes/second guessing.

The N. Korea/Brazil game was also pretty darn good, who'd thunk they'd press Brazil so hard?

What else... Oh yeah, the announcers where saying the N.Korea supporters where actually hand picked Chinese actors. Any truth to this? Any other country and I might have dismissed it as crazy talk.. but the North Korea Govt seems quite capable of it.
posted by edgeways at 2:58 PM on June 16, 2010


Wow. Football broadcasts were so different back th—BBBBBBBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:06 PM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great sign at yesterday's game
posted by IanMorr at 3:07 PM on June 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


: Oh yeah, the announcers where saying the N.Korea supporters where actually hand picked Chinese actors. Any truth to this? Any other country and I might have dismissed it as crazy talk.. but the North Korea Govt seems quite capable of it.

This was a story going around even before the World Cup started. I think it's not so much that North Korea hired Chinese actors to support them as it is that they sold their ticket allotment to some Chinese tour group since no one in North Korea could afford them. (This all comes from Chinese news reports, though, so you can find that as credible as you like.) If you believe this guy, though, then North Korea did eventually decide to send 200 of their own people to South Africa. Can't imagine anyone other than their government minders will be talking to them, though.
posted by jackflaps at 3:18 PM on June 16, 2010


Watching Brazil/North Korea when North Korea scored I joked that he was gonna get a car! And then thought that might damn well be what he gets. Kaka/Julio Cesar etc make how many millions a year?
posted by From Bklyn at 3:19 PM on June 16, 2010


What else... Oh yeah, the announcers where saying the N.Korea supporters where actually hand picked Chinese actors.

(Chinese) Tourists can also join the "Chinese Volunteer Army" to cheer for North Korea, according to China Sports Star, a state-owned promotion agency. The nearly $5,000, eight-day tour includes a safari and casino visit, and either the North Korea game against Brazil in Johannesburg on Tuesday or the match against Portugal in Cape Town on June 21.
posted by geoff. at 3:19 PM on June 16, 2010


A Chinese colleague said to me that a lot of Chinese people are cheering for North Korea since China didn't make it into the Cup. And the rich Chinese people that can afford to fly to South Africa includes a number of actors & TV personalities. Ergo... the announcers where saying the N.Korea supporters where actually hand picked Chinese actors. Well, they were Chinese actors at any rate.
posted by GuyZero at 3:24 PM on June 16, 2010


Re: earnings - according to this article in Korean quoting a Chinese analyst, NK goal scorer Ji Yun-Nam's yearly salary is around 130000 SK won = 107 US dollars. He says Kaka makes 400000 times as much as Ji, or 5 times as much as all of NK team combined. I would've thought he made more than 5 times. I think it's skewed a bit by the fact that a huge chunk of what the NK team earns likely belongs to Jong Tae-Se, the J-League player aka Inmin Rooney.
posted by shortfuse at 3:33 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome, thank you for this! I have been searching (with very little effort, admittedly) for a copy of this.
posted by inigo2 at 4:20 PM on June 16, 2010


My gf has NK in the sweepstake she organised at work so she's been cheering them on like crazy. She's probably not going to get a job as a US sports commissioner anytime soon tho'.
posted by i_cola at 4:27 PM on June 16, 2010


Great post, thanks!
posted by languagehat at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2010


My gf has NK in the sweepstake she organised at work so she's been cheering them on like crazy.

I pulled France. Buggered if I'm going to be cheering them. I'm just squinting my eyes and pretending they're Ireland. Anyway, you've got to cheer NK, don't you? You don't know what will happen to them for losing...
posted by Jimbob at 4:48 PM on June 16, 2010


you've got to cheer NK, don't you? You don't know what will happen to them for losing...

I'm sure they are incapable of losing, at least incapable of losing as reported in the NK media. it will have been a tremendous win!!!
posted by edgeways at 5:01 PM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


When Brazil scored that one goal against NK yesterday, I had a momentary fear that somewhere, the goalie's family was thrown into a prison cell. I hope it ain't like that! I can't help but sympathize for players from nations with despots. I always fear that failure abroad will result in some punishment for either the players or their families.
posted by Atreides at 5:51 PM on June 16, 2010


Brazil may have the victory, but do they have invisible phones?
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:21 PM on June 16, 2010




At least North Korea fan is based in England and for his sins, a Pompey fan.
posted by idb at 7:24 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really wonderful-thanks!
posted by PHINC at 9:36 PM on June 16, 2010


Their reaction to the Christian symbols at the hotel was great:

At night, when I looked outside, I could see a chapel. Inside was a statue of Jesus on the cross with scary nails in his palms. In the middle of the night, this chapel was lit by a spotlight. It was the first time we had seen such things. They caused us worry and fear, and we couldn't sleep well.
posted by eagle-bear at 5:15 PM on June 17, 2010


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