Get ready for an exciting return to the world of football! After nearly four years of closed borders, the North Korean national football team is set to rejoin the global sports scene.
North Korea’s Participation in the Asian Games
It’s been a long four years since North Korea’s national football squad last played a competitive match, which was during the 2022 World Cup Asia qualifiers when they held Lebanon to a 0-0 draw.
Since their remarkable performance at the 2018 Asian Games, North Korea has been absent from major international sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Olympics, and the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The government’s decision to close its borders in response to the Covid-19 outbreak was the primary reason for this hiatus.
However, there’s exciting news as athletes from North Korea have already signed up to participate in judo, football, and volleyball at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou. Football has historically been a strong suit for North Korea at the Asian Games.
A Glimpse into the Past
In the same year that the North Korean men’s football team reached the Asiad final and narrowly lost to South Korea, finishing as runners-up, the North Korean women’s team secured a gold medal by defeating Japan. Both the male and female teams reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 Asiad. Considering their lengthy absence from international competition, it remains to be seen if they can replicate their past successes in this year’s event.
What Lies Ahead?
The much-anticipated Asian Games, which were delayed by a year due to the pandemic, are set to kick off in Hangzhou, China on September 23 and will run until October 8. North Korea’s participation in the Asian Games is a promising sign that they may eventually return to international competitions, including the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Stay tuned for the exciting comeback of North Korean football on the global stage!