North Korea News

(Asiad) N. Korea eyes women's football revenge against Japan

2014/09/30 14:42

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will eye revenge against Japan in the upcoming women's football gold medal match, the team's coach said Tuesday.

Kim Kwang-min will lead the North Korean women's squad against Norio Sasaki's Japanese side in the final set for Wednesday at Munhak Stadium. It will be a rematch of the gold medal match at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, where Japan prevailed 1-0.

The win gave Japan its first Asiad gold in women's football and snapped North Korea's gold medal streak at two.

On the eve of the showdown, Kim called the final "the most important match" for his team here and said he expected a "fierce" contest.

"Japan is one of the strongest teams in Asia and has some talented young players," Kim said at the pre-match press conference. "We have to be prepared to hold off their organized attack and break through the defense. I believe our players will also be mentally ready for this match."

   North Korea defeated South Korea 2-1 in Monday's semifinal match, with a last-gasp goal by substitute Ho Un-byol. Japan had an easier time reaching the final, after beating Vietnam 3-0, also on Monday.

Sasaki, the Japanese coach, said he has brought a youthful squad and the team has progressed over the course of the tournament.

"North Korea looked better against South Korea than against China (in the quarterfinals)," Sasaki said. "Rather than focusing on one particular player, we have to be ready for the entire North Korean team."

   Though North Korea may be favored on paper, Sasaki said his players will compete with confidence.

"This is a team we really wanted to face," the coach added. "Hopefully, this will be a good experience for our team ahead of the next FIFA Women's World Cup (in 2015)."

   North Korea failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup and Kim was already looking ahead to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, saying a gold medal here would have a positive impact on the country's preparation for the Rio Games.