One more historical event that I missed out on. Damn I wanted to see that!
I don’t see any video of it online yet, but apparently it was a really close game (detailed results can be found here in Japanese). North Korea was much better than expected. The DPRK’s defense was strong, as Coach Zico and others said, and, while Japan dominated possession, they made some crucial mistakes in defense that they had to make up for in the end.
From Japan Today:
SAITAMA — Masashi Oguro scored a last-gasp winner as Japan made a nervy start to the final phase of qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup on Wednesday by squeaking past North Korea 2-1 in their opening Group B match in Saitama.
Mitsuo Ogasawara put Japan in front with a free kick after four minutes but substitute Nam Song Chol scored a goal that will give Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi nightmares for weeks to come just after the hour mark to deservedly pull the North Koreans level.
The game was played amid political tensions between the two countries with public pressure mounting for the Japanese government to slap economic sanctions on the reclusive state in a bid to force it to come clean on its abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.
As a precaution against possible crowd trouble, more than 3,000 police and private security guards were mobilized but the match passed without incident.
According to reports, the crowd was on its best behavior and none of the 5,000 zainichi fans in attendance were bothered. I expect that the crowd for the second game in June to be held in Pyongyang will be similarly well-mannered.
KCNA, North Korea’s foreign news service, is eerily quiet about the whole thing. The only thing close was a diatribe scolding SK for not being more belligerent about claiming the barely-inhabited Takeshima from the Japanese.
Images of a North Korean school in Japan (?) from Japanese TV:
UPDATE: I forgot the word for ロスタイム in English, at first putting Overtime (clearly wrong) 🙁 but it’s actually EXTRA Time