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World Cup dream alive as DPR Korea beat Syria

In a must win match DPR Korea beat Syria 1-0 courtesy of a Jong Il Gwan goal in the dying minutes of the match.

This was a must win for DPRK Korea as they sit in third place of Group B in the second round of qualification.

DPR Korea beat Syria – How do things stand?

The top two teams in the group qualify for the third round, set to feature the best teams in the Asian Football Confederation. Currently DPR Korea have one less point than Syria, who sit in second place, behind Japan.

Going into the final match the DPRK have a clear advantage as they are facing last placed minnows Myanmar, while Syria have the unenviable task of playing away to title toppers Japan in Tokyo.

In short this means that they either have to beat Manama and hope Syria draw, lose, or draw against Myanmar and hope that Syria lose by at least 2 clear goals.

Going this far will be extremely important to the DPRK as the qualification is not just for the 2026 World Cup, to be held my motto; enemies the USA, but also acts as a qualifier for the 2027 AFC Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia.

For the FIFA World Cup 8 Asian teams will qualify directly, while a 9th will be involved in a playoff for their final spot.

Where will the final match be held?

DPR Korea will face Myanmar at their pseudo home ground of Vientiane at the new Laos National Stadium on June 11th. Should they win said match Round 3 is set to start in September.

And for casual fans this would be a great time to watch the DPR Korea team with regular tourists not allowed in or out of North Korea due to Covid restrictions. Although even without this there is not much of a DPRK travelling army…

And how about DPR Korean football in general?

That DPR Korea beat Syria is testament enough to the fact the country are no pushovers, with the country famously knocking out Italy in 1966, but also going toe to toe with Portugal in the last 8 of the competition.

This followed from their victory against Australia in Phnom Penh where they famously qualified for the tournament. They would remain the most successful Asian team in the tournament until the Republic of Korea got to the last four in 2002.

Most recently DPR Korea qualified for the 2010 World Cup, which YPT were in country to witness.

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