The North Korea national football team (recognized as Korea DPR by FIFA and known colloquially as North Korea) represents the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in international association football and is controlled by the DPR Korea Football Association, the governing body for football in North Korea.
North Korea surprised with a good showing at their World Cup debut, reaching the quarter-finals in 1966, beating Italy in the group stage, being the first Asian team in history to make it past the group stage. During the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, controversy arose when the team's supporters rioted, interfering with the opponents' safe egress from the stadium, because of North Korea's failure to qualify. In 2009, the team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the second World Cup appearance in their history. North Korea has qualified for the AFC Asian Cup four times; in 1980, when they finished fourth, in 1992, 2011 and in 2015. The current team is composed of both native North Koreans and Chongryon-affiliated Koreans born in Japan.
In the 1966 World Cup, North Korea played their matches at Middlesbrough's home ground Ayresome Park, when the team caused an upset, beating Italy 1–0 to gain a spot in the quarter-finals. There, they lost 5–3 to Portugal, despite taking a 3–0 lead after thirty minutes. The North Korea team was the first team from outside Europe or the Americas to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup finals. In a 1999 documentary featuring interviews with surviving members of the team, they describe themselves as having been welcomed home as national heroes.
|Soviet Union||3–0||North Korea|
|Malofeyev 31', 88'
|Marcos 26' (pen.)||Report||Pak Seung-zin 88'|
|Pak Doo-ik 42'||Report|
|Eusébio 27', 43' (pen.), 56', 59' (pen.)
José Augusto 80'
|Report||Pak Seung-zin 1'
Li Dong-woon 22'
Yang Seung-Kook 25'
In March 2005, the North Korean team entered a match with Iran with limited chances of qualifying for the World Cup finals due to poor performance in early fixtures. During the match hosted in Pyongyang, North Korean fans became enraged when the referee failed to award North Korea a penalty kick after a controversial play near the end of the match. Demanding a penalty, the North Korean footballers rushed Syrian referee Mohamed Kousa, who instead gave a North Korean player a red card. Bottles, stones and chairs were thrown onto the field following the play. After the match was over, North Korean fans refused to let the Iranian team leave the stadium on their team bus. The violence was so severe that riot police forced back the crowd. Following this incident, North Korea lost its right to host the subsequent home match with Japan and the game was instead played behind closed doors at an empty stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The North Korea football team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after finishing 2nd place in Group B of Asian qualifying. Their finishing place was not decided until the day of the last fixture of the group, in which they needed not only to avoid defeat in a match against Saudi Arabia, but also rely on Iran not winning in a match against South Korea. In the end, after possessing the same number of points as Saudi Arabia, North Korea qualified through goal difference. With a final pre-tournament FIFA ranking of 105th in the world, North Korea was the lowest-ranked team to qualify for the World Cup since the rankings began in 1993.
2010 was North Korea's first appearance at the World Cup since 1966. The draw placed North Korea in Group G. They played their first match against five-time winners Brazil on 15 June, with Brazil winning 2–1 in a game where North Korea was well organized defensively and showed resilience, frustrating the Brazilians. Despite their best efforts, they were nevertheless outmatched and eventually broken down. Maicon's relief was visible after his goal to finally put Brazil ahead.
In their next game against Portugal on 21 June, they were defeated 0–7. Despite starting well (as against Brazil), with a defensive, well organised approach, once Portugal scored their first, the Koreans' defense unravelled and the rest followed with relative ease. They lost their final match against Côte d'Ivoire 0–3 on 25 June. Having lost all three group matches, they were knocked out, finishing at the bottom of Group G. It was reported that the small contingency of apparent North Korean football fans were actually Chinese, to whom North Korea administration sold their share of tickets. North Korea subsequently denied the report, claiming that a small number were permitted to travel to the World Cup. There were reports that the North Korean government punished the coach and players of the team by sending them on a hard labour in mines. However, FIFA's investigators could not confirm that.
|1||Brazil||3||2||1||0||5||2||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|Report||Ji Yun-Nam 89'|
Tiago 60', 89'
|North Korea||0–3||Ivory Coast|
|Report||Y. Touré 14'
|6 October 2016 Friendly||Vietnam||5–2||North Korea||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam|
|18:00 ICT||Report||Pak Kwang-ryong 14', 52'||Stadium: Thống Nhất Stadium
Referee: Mongkolchai Pechsri (Thailand)
|10 October 2016 Friendly||Philippines||1–3||North Korea||Manila, Philippines|
|20:00 PST||Ramsay 77'||Report||Stadium: Rizal Memorial Stadium
Referee: Hoàng Anh Tuấn (Vietnam)
|6 November 2016 2017 EAFF 2nd prelim rd||North Korea||2–0||Chinese Taipei||Mong Kok, Hong Kong|
|15:00 HKT||Report||Stadium: Mong Kok Stadium
Referee: Pranjal Banerjee (India)
|9 November 2016 2017 EAFF 2nd prelim rd||Guam||0–2||North Korea||Mong Kok, Hong Kong|
|17:00 HKT||Report||Stadium: Mong Kok Stadium
Referee: Khash-Erdene Bold (Mongolia)
|12 November 2016 2017 EAFF 2nd prelim rd||Hong Kong||0–1||North Korea||Mong Kok, Hong Kong|
|18:00 HKT||Report||Jong Il-gwan 22'||Stadium: Mong Kok Stadium
Referee: Pranjal Banerjee (India)
|6 June 2017 Friendly||Qatar||2–2||North Korea||Doha, Qatar|
|20:00 AST||Hassan 32'
|Report||Pak Kwang-ryong 63'
Kim Yu-song 72'
|Stadium: Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium
Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)
|13 June 2017 2019 ACQ||Hong Kong||1–1||North Korea||So Kon Po, Hong Kong|
|20:00 HKT||Tan Chun Lok 45'||Report||Kim Yu-song 46'||Stadium: Hong Kong Stadium
Referee: Jansen Foo (Singapore)
|14 July 2017 2017 King's Cup||Thailand||3–0||North Korea||Bangkok, Thailand|
|19:30 ICT||Mongkol 40'
Teeratep 90+1' (pen.)
|Stadium: Rajamangala Stadium
Referee: Yusuke Araki (Japan)
|16 July 2017 2017 King's Cup||Burkina Faso||3–3||North Korea||Bangkok, Thailand|
L. Traoré 68', 73'
|Pak Song-chol 4'
Myong Cha-hyon 66' (pen.)
Rim Kwang-Hyok 82'
|Stadium: Rajamangala Stadium
Referee: Zaw Khaing (Myanmar)
|5 September 2017 2019 ACQ||North Korea||2–2||Lebanon||Pyongyang, North Korea|
|Report||Stadium: Kim Il-sung Stadium
Referee: Aziz Asimov (Uzbekistan)
|10 October 2017 2019 ACQ||Lebanon||5–0||North Korea||Beirut, Lebanon|
|Report||Stadium: Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
Referee: Minoru Tōjō (Japan)
|10 November 2017 2019 ACQ||North Korea||4–1||Malaysia||Buriram Thailand|
||Stadium: Buriram Stadium
Referee: Fahad Al-Mirdasi (Saudi Arabia)
|13 November 2017 2019 ACQ||Malaysia||1–4||North Korea||Buriram Thailand|
||Report||Stadium: Buriram Stadium
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
|9 December 2017 2017 EAFF Final||Japan||1–0||North Korea||Tokyo, Japan|
|19:15 JST||Ideguchi 90+3'||Report||Stadium: Ajinomoto Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath (Australia)
|12 December 2017 2017 EAFF Final||North Korea||0–1||South Korea||Tokyo, Japan|
|16:30 JST||Report||Ri Yong-chol 64' (o.g.)||Stadium: Ajinomoto Stadium
Referee: Hettikamkanamge Perera (Sri Lanka)
|16 December 2017 2017 EAFF Final||China PR||1–1||North Korea||Tokyo, Japan|
|16:30 JST||Wei Shihao 28'||Report||Jong Il-gwan 81'||Stadium: Ajinomoto Stadium
Referee: Valentin Kovalenko (Uzbekistan)
|27 March 2018 2019 ACQ||North Korea||2–0||Hong Kong||Pyongyang, North Korea|
|Report||Stadium: Kim Il-sung Stadium
FIFA World Cup
AFC Asian Cup
|AFC Challenge Cup Finals|
|2006||Did not enter|
|2014||Did not enter|
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|Head coach||Jørn Andersen||Norwegian|
|Assistant coach||Kim Jong-min||North Korean|
|Goalkeeper coach||Pak Kyong-chol||North Korean|
|#||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Ri Myong-guk||9 September 1986 (aged 31)||92||0||Pyongyang City|
|13||GK||Sin Hyok||3 July 1992 (aged 25)||1||0||February 8|
|22||GK||Ri Kwang-il||13 April 1988 (aged 29)||6||0||April 25|
|2||DF||Sim Hyon-jin||1 January 1991 (aged 26)||25||1||Sobaeksu|
|3||DF||Jang Kuk-chol||16 February 1994 (aged 23)||33||3||Hwaebul|
|4||DF||Pak Myong-song||31 March 1994 (aged 23)||4||0||Sobaeksu|
|6||DF||Kang Kuk-chol||1 July 1990 (aged 27)||7||0||Pyongyang City|
|7||DF||Kim Song-gi||23 October 1988 (aged 29)||5||0||FC Machida Zelvia|
|15||DF||Kim Chol-bom||16 July 1994 (aged 23)||1||0||Sobaeksu|
|18||DF||Ri Yong-chol||8 January 1991 (aged 26)||11||0||Kyonggongop|
|20||DF||Song Kum-il||10 May 1994 (aged 23)||?||?||Rimyongsu|
|5||MF||Ri Un-chol||13 July 1995 (aged 22)||?||?||Sonbong|
|8||MF||Kim Kuk-bom||19 February 1995 (aged 22)||?||?||April 25|
|9||MF||Pak Song-chol||24 September 1987 (aged 30)||52||12||Visakha|
|14||MF||Kang Kuk-chol||29 September 1999 (aged 18)||0||0|
|16||MF||Ri Yong-jik||8 February 1991 (aged 26)||8||1||Kamatamare Sanuki|
|17||MF||Myong Cha-hyon||20 March 1990 (aged 27)||10||2||Radnički 1923|
|19||MF||Choe Ju-song||27 January 1996 (aged 21)||2||0||Amrokkang|
|21||MF||Yun Il-gwang||1 April 1993 (aged 24)||5||0||Wolmido|
|10||FW||An Byong-jun||22 May 1990 (aged 27)||9||0||Roasso Kumamoto|
|11||FW||Jong Il-gwan||30 October 1992 (aged 25)||53||15||FC Luzern|
|12||FW||Jang Ok-chol||14 January 1994 (aged 23)||1||0||Kigwancha|
|23||FW||Kim Yu-song||24 January 1995 (aged 22)||12||7||April 25|
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As of March 27, 2018. Players in bold are still active at international level.
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