The silent soccer matches of North Korea

North Korea's coach, Kim Jong-Hun, received tactical advice during matches from Kim Jong-Il himself using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye. [Tim Hartley / BBC]


  1. I ended up watching a couple of North Korea games in the last World Cup. It was really sad, and the asshole Portugal team theatrically celebrated each of their goals (eight or nine at least) as if they were playing against Brazil or something, oblivious to the depressing despair visible on the faces of all of the North Korean players even from a distance on TV.

    1.  So Portuguese players should not have celebrated their goals because North Korean citizens may feel bad about the skills of their players or the state of their tyrannical dictatorship?
      Are you aware that we are talking about  ̶s̶o̶c̶c̶e̶r̶ ̶ football?
      That´s the point!

      1. I think he’s objecting to the level of celebration; it’s a little like yelling “IN YOUR FACE!” every time you dunk on an eight year old.  Clearly they should have shuffled their feet and mumbled an apology at the ground.

        1. NK was qualified for the World Cup and you have to take everyone serious who managed this. 
          To call such a team “eight years olds” (and therefore all asian teams) is much more arrogant than celebrating goals. 

    2. “eight or nine at least”
      The game ended 7:0

      It  was 0:0 until the 29. minute and only 1:0 in halftime. So a Win of NK seemed quite possible after 45 minutes. *That* would have been a desaster for Portugal 
      So every further goal was a relief and a reason to celebrate.

  2. Did anybody else find this line a little odd?

    “But the locals just stared at us. In a land where it appears you must
    ask permission to speak, this show of individuality, of spontaneity, was
    not seen as rude, or aggressive. They just stared blankly at us.”

    Er. Perhaps they’re staring at you blankly because they see your behaviour as rude and aggressive? Classic “Brit abroad” behaviour; “they’re staring at us because they think we’re odd, not because we’re behaving like dickheads.” Sigh.

      1.  When it’s not the accepted local form of behaviour, none of the locals are doing it and you’re pointedly doing it while acknowledging that everyone is staring at you, yes it very much is.

        1. The “accepted local form of behavior” is the result of over half a century of brutal totalitarian repression.  Are you really trying to defend that as some kind of cultural norm?

          1. Yes, it’s a horrible repressive regime, and their lives are full of misery, but it doesn’t really justify being rude to them.  If folks who felt we were overly repressed started cheering at tennis, golf or a chess match, how would people feel?

          2. But your whole family won’t be sent to labor/death camps if you cheer at a tennis match.

          3. …aaand of course you (Antinous) can cite reliable sources that support your very specific scenario for North Korea?

          4. Ah, thought so. Why did I even ask?

            Look, nobody’s saying bad things don’t happen there and that people aren’t severely punished for ridiculous things, even things that are in some way similar to what’s mentioned here.

            But unless you can find a report of somebody’s family being sent to a “labor/death camp” for cheering at a tennis match (in this particular combination) you are just making shit up which never helps your credibility. Leave that to Fox News.

            I just try to stick to verifiable facts (which are are at least as bad, nobody’s making light of what’s happening in NK).

  3. Those wacky dictators! They always think that inheriting vast, unaccountable power from Daddy makes them expert at everything.  Soccer… invading Iraq…  whatever, they just won’t ask for advice.

  4. Why does the post’s title say soccer when the headline on the news piece clearly says football? Wacky americans…

    1. Football is the root name for a number of games. The game the United States refer to as soccer is formally call association football; the football style game played in the united states is gridiron football. Understandably, most people chose to refer to the variety most popular in their region as football. For instance rugby football kept the style designation because it isn’t the primary football variant where it is played. The precursor of all these games was mob football which traditionally included a lot more handling than kicking, also more stabbing. Because gridiron is the popular variation in the united states it is perfectly correct for us to refer to it as football, and we call the England variant soccer because calling it association is mental.Wacky Alpha Centaurians…

  5. Surely they are not human so it is okay to bomb the crap out of them. Manufacturing consent much? 

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