Category Archives: North Korea

The glorious unpredictability of North Korea’s triumph over Italy.

The 1966 World Cup will be remembered for more than England being crowned as world champions for the first and, so far, only time. It was during the same tournament that one of the greatest shock results in international football history was recorded, when North Korea faced Italy. Continue reading →


The heirs of Chollima and the long and complicated path to the 2010 World Cup.

In 1966, after a qualification marked by controversy, withdrawals and political intrigue, North Korea arrived to play in the World Cup as unknown players from a land that few knew very much of. Typical of the British culture, ever keen to support the underdog though, the fans took to the ‘Chollima’ squad with their small stature and naïve innocence.

It was an approach that saw them vanquish Italy in one of the most sensational results in World Cup history and then lead Portugal by three goals to nil, before being swamped by the brilliance of Eusebio. The football observing public were charmed by these apparent innocents abroad. A brief dip into the fairy-tale of make believe that, as always seems to be the case, eventually fell short. The North Koreans left for home, leaving behind them nothing but fond memories of a team small in stature, but big in heart. Continue reading →

Pak Doo-Ik: North Korea’s 1966 exploits and the fame, shame and rehabilitation of Middlesbrough’s favourite ‘Chollima.’

The goal that launched North Korea into world cup folklore. Pak Doo-Ik slides the ball past Albertossi in the Italian goal to give the North koreans a 1-0 victory over the Azzurri.

The goal that launched North Korea into World  Cup folklore. Pak Doo-Ik guides the ball past Albertossi in the Italian goal to give the North Koreans a 1-0 victory over the Azzurri.

Sometimes, you hear a fact, notice a name or log a date in your memory in the obscure hope that someday, you’ll be in a pub quiz team, or watching a television programme where someone will say something like, ‘Can anyone remember the name of the goal-scorer when North Korea beat Italy in the 1966 World Cup. And up you’ll jump, full of a confidence bordering on arrogance and say, “Yes, I do. Yes, I do!”  Continue reading →