SEOUL: North Korea’s footballers received a heroes’ welcome after last week’s qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1966. The North’s squad returned home on Saturday, greeted by government officials at the airport and crowds on their way to Pyongyang, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The North Koreans, whose only previous World Cup finals appearance was in England 43 years ago, secured their place in the 2010 tournament in South Africa with a 0-0 draw away at Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. In the 1966 showpiece in England, the North Koreans became many people’s second team as they beat Italy on the way to the quarter-finals, where they went out to a Portugal 5-3. But in recent years the team has made little impact on the international stage.