North Korea couldn’t make it past the group stage, but the fact that they were competing was commendable.
Now that the team is back home, they have been subject to public humiliation. The team was lectured in public on their failure and “betrayal” of Kim Kong- un, son and heir of the great leader Kim Jong-il.
The team fought hard against Brazil. Though the score line was 2-1 for Brazil, North Korea struck the first goal. They went on to lose 3-0 to Ivory Coast and 7-0 to Portugal. Remember, this young, untested team, was placed in the dreaded Group of Death.
The problem was that football hasn’t ever been broadcast live in North Korea, as the broadcast of live games had been banned to avoid national embarrassment. When the team played Brazil they were not under too much pressure, as they knew the game would not be telecast live and were able to play freely. After the spirited 2-1 defeat to Brazil, however, state television made the Portugal game its first live sports broadcast ever.
According to media in South Korea, though, players got off lightly by North Korean standards. Historically, it was straight to the prison camps for athletes and coaches who performed badly.
FIFA should ban the country from participating in football matches if defeat means that the coach could be executed and the team subject to public humiliation.