Saturday, June 26, 2010

No Sympathy For North Korea

Portugal midfielder Tiago insists he felt no guilt about condemning North Korea to a 7-0 defeat on Monday despite possible repercussions for their opponents.

Carlos Queiroz's side clicked into gear emphatically this week by heavily defeating North Korea after drawing 0-0 with the Ivory Coast in their opening Group G game.

For North Korea, who were valiant in a 2-1 opening defeat by Brazil, the scoreline was a real blow to their pride.

After playing the Ivory Coast in their final match, Kim Jong-hun's side must return home to face the music with all kinds of speculation surrounding the welcome they will get from communist dictator Kim Jong-il.

Tiago scored two goals in the match, including the seventh, but he said: "I'm not sorry, it's football.

"We want to win, we want to score but we wish them luck. I think it's always difficult to lose 7-0 but hopefully in the next game they will be strong."

Reminded that for North Korea it is perhaps not 'just' football, Tiago added: "Yes, I know. I didn't feel guilty because you want to play and you want to score.

"I think for them it's difficult, I hope in their third game (against Ivory Coast) they can score and win."

The North Koreans lost 0-3 to Ivory Coast to occupy the bottom spot in their group. The fear of repercussions by the government of North Korea is real as not only the team lost big to Portugal. but the match was also broadcast life on national TV in North Korea and watched by its people. The 1st match was not shown on national TV but after their good performance against Brazil where the team lost 1-2, the government decided to a very rare national live telecast of the match against Portugal. For a country that does not want its citizens to 'see' any weaknesses of the country, that match must have greatly embarassed and angered the leader of North Korea.

Some have suggested the players not to return home but this would lead to even more serious repercussions because their whole families would have to face the music.

It's sad that when the team qualified for the World Cup, they were hailed as national hero in North Korea but now, no one knows and no one will probably know what would happen to the players after returning home.