North Korea were seen as the least favourites for the East Asian Cup title, but they managed to bring a huge surprise to the party after securing a 2-1 win over initial favourites Japan.
The team managed by Bosnian VahidHalilhodzic was expected to make a huge impact at this tournament, but they have gone home without making any impact whatsoever. Part of this reason was the surprise performance from North Korea. The game between the two ended in a 2-1 victory for Korea DPR, who had to come back from going a goal down.
Prior to this match, North Korea were on a good run of form with the team claiming victories over the likes of Yemen and Uzbekistan in the World Cup qualifying group. This run undoubtedly helped the team get some huge confidence ahead of this game against Japan. However, few would have expected North Korea to rebound very well in the game after conceding to Muto as early as in the third minute.Hyok-CholRi came up with the equaliser in the 78th minute beforeHyon-Il Pak score the unlikely winner with just two minutes of normal time remaining. North Korea held on for a famous victory and they will hope to repeat this astonishing performance when they take on China in the next match.
If North Korea managed to get a win against China, which is not beyond the possibilities, they could very well be looking at competing for the East Asian Cup trophy for the first time in the history. This will be a major boost for the national football team of this region, which has been plagued by political insecurities and instabilities. Meanwhile, China will pose a huge threat to North Korea’s positive mood since they are the home team but they lost to South Korea 2-0.