N. Korea Congratulates S. Korea’s Achievement in World Cup

Ri Gwang Gun, Chairman of the Korean Football Association, on June 30 sent a letter to Jong Mong Jun, Chairman of the South Korean Football Association, congratulating the football team of South Korea on its success in the 17th FIFA World Cup.

Follows the full text of the congratulatory message.


To Mr. Jong Mong Jun, Chairman of the South Korean Football Association


I congratulate the football team of south Korea on its great success in the World Cup.

The success made by the team is a striking demonstration of the advantages and tenacity of the Korean nation to the world.

The successive wins made by your football team in the wake of the victory achieved by our eleven in the 1966 World Cup held in England which stunned the world, are a victory common to the nation which convinces the fellow countrymen that they can defeat any strong team in the world and emerge as the strongest if they have a will.

This, at the same time, installs into the nation the confidence that they can achieve the independent reunification of the country more smoothly if they pool their efforts and wisdom.

I express the expectation that Mr. Jong Mong Jun, Chairman of the South Korean Football Association and Chairman of Preparatory Committee of the south Korean side for the World Cup, will greatly help the compatriots pool their efforts in the days ahead.


Ri Gwang Gun

Chairman of the DPRK Football Association


June 30, 2002




S. Korean Soccer Team Wins 4th Prize in 2002 World Cup


Scoring big upsets against the world’s soccer powers, the south Korean football team won the fourth prize in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan, though the team lost the game against Turkey and failed to secure the bronze medal on June 29. It was the first time for an Asian country to go to semifinal in their longtime attempts in the world’s biggest football event.

In the preliminary round in Group D, the south Korean team overwhelmed Poland 2-0 recording its first-ever win in the World Cup and drew with U.S. 1-1. Beating the powerful Portugal team 1-0, the south Korean team came out on top of its group and moved on to the second round of the finals.

The south Korean football squad made a 2-1 extra-time win over three-time champion Italy on June 15. And then south Korea, which had never won a World Cup game before (10 losses and 4 draws in 14 games), advanced to the semifinals on June 22 with a win over Spain in a penalty shootout after extra time ended without either side scoring, to make the south Koreans the first Asian team to ever reach the semifinals. In the semifinal match against Germany on June 25, the south Korea team was defeated 0:1.

The DPRK broadcast the victory of the south Korean team in 2002 World Cup, showing parts of the football matches against Italy and Spain on the state-run Korean Central Television. The state television aired the highlights of south Korea’s surprise victory over Italy on June 23 and Spain on June 27 in the second round of the World Cup.

The DPRK has been proud of its achievement in the 1966 World Cup in England. The national football squad of the DPRK advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating soccer power Italy 1:0 in the preliminary round. But in the match against Portugal in the quarterfinals, the DPRK team lost a close game to the Portugal team 3:5.

Meanwhile, the Seoul-based Korea-Europe Foundation said on June 6 that north Korea agreed to send its national soccer team to south Korea on September 6 to hold a match with the south Korean national team in Seoul.

The agreement came after a series of working-level negotiations between the north side and foundation. Reportedly, General Secretary Kim Jong Il accepted the foundation’s proposal for the soccer game made by the foundation’s head Rep. Park Keun Hye during her meeting with Kim Jong Il in mid-May.


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