SEOUL: North Korea has given awards to their national football squad for qualifying for next year's World Cup — the first time the team has made the tournament since 1966, state media said on Tuesday. Merit citations, medals or watches inscribed with the name of leader Kim Jong-Il were awarded to players, coaching staff and officials on Monday, the Korean Central News Agency said. The North Koreans qualified for the 2010 World Cup, which runs from June 11 to July 11 in South Africa, with a 0-0 draw away at Saudi Arabia last June. It marks the communist state's first advancement to the playoff stages since the 1966 World Cup, during which the North Koreans beat mighty Italy on the way to the quarter-finals.