DVD shows North-South game was tense, physical with little offenseBelatedly revealed to local football journalists on Thursday, the DVD copy of a World Cup qualifying match between South Korea and North Korea showed the Taeguk Warriors had trouble establishing themselves on offense against their hard-nosed opponents in a scoreless draw.
The two Koreas couldn’t break the ice in their Group H showdown on Tuesday at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang, part of the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The match was played behind closed doors and wasn’t broadcast live in South Korea. The South Korean team brought back the DVD of the match early Thursday morning, but Seoul’s public broadcaster KBS scrapped its plan to air it Thursday evening. KBS offered no official explanation.
Instead, the Korea Football Association (KFA) in Seoul invited journalists to its headquarters in Seoul to watch the match, produced in standard definition quality, on a projector.
The KFA offered to upload a highlight package on its website and also provided the clip to broadcasters, on the condition that they must use it for editorial purposes only and won’t share it on their social media pages.
Little had been known about the match other than its final score and the issuing of four yellow cards, two per side. The first testy moment of what the South Korean players said was a chippy and physical match came in the sixth minute, when South Korean midfielder Na Sang-ho pushed off North Korean defender Pak Myong-song while battling for a loose ball.
Pak took exception to the shove, and the players from both sides converged. South Korean midfielder Hwang In-beom was punched in the face by a North Korean player, though no foul was called on that play.
The 113th-ranked North Korea, rather than sitting back on defense as the underdogs in the match, instead applied some offensive pressure against the 37th-ranked opponents.
In the ninth minute, South Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu had to make a tough stop on an attempted cross by Ri Un-chol that traveled toward the net.
South Koreans failed to convert set pieces and didn’t transition smoothly from defense to offense. The team’s first shot attempt didn’t come until the 25th minute, and South Korea had no shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Their offense picked up some pace in the second half. Hwang Hee-chan’s header in the 71st minute was turned aside by goalkeeper An Tae-song, who also denied Kim Moon-hwan in the ensuing scramble.
Despite the draw, South Korea remains in first place in Group H with seven points. North Korea also has seven points, but South Korea has a better goal difference, plus-10 to plus-3.
The top two teams from each of the eight groups, plus four best runners-up, will move on to the third round.
South Korea are trying to qualify for their 10th straight World Cup. North Korea last played at a World Cup in 2010.