When North Korea’s football team returned home from the 2010 World Cup, the country was NOT pleased to see them.
They’d lost all three matches, one of which saw them get smashed 7-0 by Portugal – and a six-hour public enquiry was held to see what went wrong.
They were accused of “betraying” Kim Jong-un, then heir-apparent to Kim Jong-il but now the country’s leader, with their terrible football. The players were grilled in a brutal fashion, and reportedly coerced into putting all the blame on to the team’s manager, Kim Jong-hun.
And the fact that the coach was a near-namesake of the country’s most powerful man didn’t save him: he was stripped of his job and sent off to become a builder instead according to a report in the Telegraph.
Why do we mention this? Simply because despite the treatment that the 2010 World Cup team received, we hope North Korea’s Under-16 goalkeeper Jang Paek Ho won’t be hung out to dry for the atrocious blunder you see at the top of this page. He is just a kid after all.
The lucky beneficiary of the slip, incidentally, was Uzbekistan goalkeeper Jasurbek Umrazkov, whose goal broke the stalemate in what became a 3-1 win for his team.
All is not lost for North Korea, however: they are still in the quarter-finals of the tournament. Here’s hoping that Jang gets another chance to save his team.