Friday, June 4, 2010

[World Cup & North Korea] North Korea in a nutshell

This has got be one of the funniest things North Korea has ever done. North Korea will for the first time since 1966 make an appearance in the World Cup and has been put in the "Group of Death" with Brazil and Portugal Euro Cup champions Spain. (Yes, it is the NBA Finals right now, but the World Cup is about to begin shortly after the Lakers take care of the Celtics.) I've never counted gambling as one of my vices -- except when College Football season comes about, but, well, North Korea is just getting some terrible odds. Currently, the odds of North Korea winning the World Cup are set at 2000:1 -- or +200,000.

But, incredibly, it seems, well, North Korea tried to pack their final 23-man squad by only putting two real goalkeepers on the lineup and naming a forward as their third goalkeeper.

It is, though, a third Kim — Jong Hun, the North Korea coach — at whom the finger of suspicion was pointed yesterday because it was he who had named Kim Myong Won, the Amrokgang forward, as a third goalkeeper in his 23-strong squad. It would, Kim No 3 perhaps believed, give his tournament underdogs an extra option up front.

Fifa was not amused, pointing to its labyrinth of rules and regulations. “The three players listed as goalkeepers can only play as goalkeepers during the World Cup and cannot play outfield,” it said. “And Kim Myong Won will not be allowed to play as an outfield player if he has been put on the list as a goalkeeper.”
This development hasn't yet been factored into the odds yet as I don't know how many people would bet on North Korea, but let me tell you something. Joe indeed plans on putting down a nice, crisp, and, real (not a counterfeit) $20 on North Korea taking it all and probably another $20 for South Korea, who are being given a 250:1 (+25,000) shot at winning the World Cup. Of course, for some reason, the more technically proficient, higher ranked, and richer Japanese soccer team is being given a 600:1 shot. I am not putting down money on Japan, of course, which brings me to my next post. I'd like to put down money on the United States as well, but for a country that already considers herself to be the most powerful, richest, and technologically advanced nation in the world -- international sports doesn't really mean as much. The same doesn't hold for Japan, whose coach is aiming to make the semi-finals (what North Korea did in 1966 and South Korea did in 2002). South Korea is humbly hoping to make it the round of 16 -- the second round of the finals.

No, it's not that I like to donate money, but it's the fact that, well, I would want a Korean team to win. And, of course, if it's a only a dream I'd like to be compensated with some money as well -- it appears to be at least $40,000 if North Korea wins. But, anyways, North Korea trying to bend the rules -- and not use the rules in its favor -- seems to very much describe the rogue nation that is, well, North Korea or the DPRK.


  1. "Of course, for some reason, the more technically proficient, higher ranked, and richer Japanese soccer team is being given a 600:1 shot."

    While Japan is ranked higher on FIFA, I wouldn't give the FIFA rankings much more than a grain of salt.

    Also, NK didn't make it to the semis in '66. They only made it to the quarterfinals (Round of 16).

  2. Thank you for pointing that out... But, wouldn't you say Japan's national squad has much less international exposure than South Korea's? And, isn't the J-League considered to be at a higher level than the K-League, especially in its ability to attract international players.