North Korea claim Unofficial World Champions title
As I wrote yesterday, despite suggestions that England’s victory over Spain had made them the Unofficial World Champions, it was in fact Japan’s title to lose rather than the World Cup winners’.
But after 12 months as proud champions (an honour they won by beating Argentina, who in turn won it off Spain) they have been beaten.
Today’s World Cup qualifier between North Korea and the Blue Samurai, in which political tension was more of a focal point than the action on the pitch, ended in a 1-0 win for the home side in Pyongyang.
Playing for the first time in North Korea since 1989, the match had no particular bearing on qualifying for the World Cup, as Japan had already sealed their path through to the finals, and North Korea could not qualify whatever the result at the Kim Il-sung stadium.
Yet the match was still keenly contested and was decided with a 50th minute header from Pak Nam Chol.. With Japan 19th in Fifa’s rankings and North Korea 124th, it was a somewhat unexpected result, and means that the reclusive nation are now the Unofficial World Champions.
The Koreans now carry a target on their back, as they have a crown to defend in their upcoming internationals. Next up for manager Yun Jong-Su’s men is an away trip to Tajikistan on February 29th. With the title belt of Unofficial World Champions up for grabs, it’s definitely not one to miss.Tagged in: england, football, japan, world champions, world cup
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