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Korea revisited

Richard sent us a picture from Korea, where he’s currently working. Not the one that hosted the 2002 World Cup, but the one to the north – DPRK, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

World Cup Qualifier DPRK v Thailand at the Yangdakdo Stadium 8th September 2004
DPRK v Thailand, Pyongyang

This is the lineup for the DPRK v Thailand World Cup Qualifier at the Yangdakdo Stadium on the 8th September 2004 — sparsely attended by the looks of things. The result… DPRK 4 Thailand 1. “No 10 Mr Hong standing out as North Korea’s answer to Rooney.” reports Rich.

Back in 2002, I heard a rumour that FIFA and DPRK almost reached an agreement for Pyongyang to host one of the 2002 games. I’d have jumped at the chance to see a game there during the tournament, but the plan fell through. Phil and I also tried to arrange a visit enroute to Seoul with The Ball, but neither we nor The Ball made it into the country then either. A couple of weeks ago, however, a copy of the 2002 trip movie (or rather a 55 minute version of it) was hand-delivered to Rich and screened in Pyongyang – a North Korean premiere!

In other news regarding Korea (though this time concerning South Korea), the FA reports in its most recent newsletter [Download the PDF here] that a Royal Navy team recently played a match against a South Korean Navy team to commemorate the first game of football on Korean soil in 1882. Phil and I had heard the story while we were in Korea in 2002, but couldn’t confirm it – so it’s good to get the lowdown from the FA itself:

“British sailors from the HMS Flying Fish played football on the jetty, leaving some balls and a pair of boots by the ship. Korean dockyard workers, watching them play, started to copy what they had seen and football soon spread around the country. Today, it is the nation’s most popular sport.”

O Pilsen Korea!

Written by on Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

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The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.