Historical meeting between the two Koreas in Pyongyang in view of the 2022 World Cup

However, there were no supporters or foreign journalists at the Kim Il-sung stadium on Tuesday to attend the confrontation.

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Image of the match between North and South Korea, provided by the South Korean Football Federation on October 15 in Pyongyang. AP

A goal-scoring encounter, but historic … The two Koreas clashed in Pyongyang on Tuesday (October 15th) in a match for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. There was no stadium in the stadium. Kim Il-sung neither supporters nor foreign journalists to attend the confrontation between two nations technically still at war, and it was not broadcast live.

The only diffuse echo of this match – a first for North Korea in a men's football competition – came from FIFA and the Asian Confederation (AFC), who were allowed to disclose on their website a minimum of factual information.

Hence the immense frustration, especially for the South Korean fans who will have to wait several days before being able, perhaps, to view this shock, which the AFC legitimately presented as the«One of the most awaited meetings» For years.

"North Korea has promised to give our delegation, before they leave, a DVD containing all the pictures of the match"said in a statement the South Korean Ministry of Unification, responsible for inter-Korean affairs.

Empty stands

The sports chronicle will note that South Korea made its three changes, North Korea two, and that the teams stood out in the yellow card match: Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim inflicted two of them. each side.

In the photos uploaded by the South Korean Federation (KFA), the image to be remembered is certainly that, rare in the North, of the South Korean flag floating in the stadium. On the few shots of the action of the match, we can see powerful floodlights flooding lights colorful but empty stands.

Among the few spectators was FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who arrived in Pyongyang that day. "It's a great pleasure to be here"he said when he arrived at the airport, where he was greeted by Kim Jang-san, President of the North Korean Federation.

Telephones at the Embassy

Another image of the meeting between North Korea and South Korea, on October 15, in Pyongyang.
Another image of the meeting between North Korea and South Korea, on October 15, in Pyongyang. AP

The South Korean side arrived on Monday, only accompanied by his coach, the Portuguese Paulo Bento, and his staff. Before flying to Pyongyang, all had been asked to leave their cell phones at their embassy in China.

"Nothing is guaranteed in terms of communication, so we have to use what we have on hand at the moment."said a KFA official, stating that the exchanges were carried out including by email.

On Monday evening, the coach's press watch press conference at the Kim Il-sung stadium was attended by five North Korean journalists and two KFA members. They had to go back to their hotel to find an Internet connection and report back to their federation.

Relocation to China

The match comes amid renewed missile testing by North Korea, which left the negotiating table in Sweden earlier this month with the United States. Pyongyang is currently rejecting any relaunch of inter-Korean discussions.

We are far from the bestowals of 2018, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in took advantage of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games to break the ice and meet three times, in a row, the North Korean leader. Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean fans, they do not fade. "A match that is not broadcast live does not mean anything", commented a fan on social networks, another saying that Pyongyang "Should be excluded from international federations" if there was no retransmission.

For decades, North Korea has refused to host inter-Korean games, relocated to China. The first she organized in 1990 was a friendly meeting meant to promote reunification. Both teams had then sported the same flag representing the whole of the peninsula. The first meeting for a football competition took place in 2017, between the women's selections.


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