Weird World Cup: 10 amazing facts about North Korea

1) North Korea naturally credited diddy dictator Kim Jong Il for reaching the finals. After victory was confirmd with a win over Saudi Arabia, an official pointed out: "The Great Leader gave in-depth guidance on the development of Korean football. He proposed the game's tactics most relevant for the physiological characteristics of the Korean players."

2) Since Kim does everything, it's hardly surprising that North Korea coach Kim Jong Hun is the worst-paid boss at the World Cup. He makes £170,000 a year while Fabio Capello trousers £6.5million.

3) Six members of the squad play for FC April 25, the official team of the North Korean Army. April 25th is Military Foundation Day, marking the day in 1932 on which North Koreans started guerilla war against the Japanese.

4) The team's nickname is Chollima, after a mythical winged horse which is too fast to be mounted by a human.

5) Striker Jong Tae-Se, nicknamed 'North Korean Rooney', is known for weeping copiously when the national anthem is played.

6) He'd have been OK in 1966, when English FA officials were so distressed by the presence of North Korea that they refused to play the country's anthem in protest.

7) Despite North Korea's superb performance at the 1966 finals, they failed to follow up four years later despite qualifying as they were kicked out before the tournament for refusing to play Israel.

8) It's unclear whether any of the World Cup will be shown in North Korea as there is no live coverage and defeats by the national side tend to be ignored. The country's biggest-selling newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, does not have a sports page.

9) After North Korea announced plans for a pre-Cup training camp in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe sent Kim Jong Il an "ark" of elephants, giraffes, zebras and warthogs as a gift.

10) Since few North Koreans can get a visa to leave the country, China has offered to send a group of 1,000 'professional fans' - mostly actors and musicians - to South Africa in order to support The Chollima.

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williamhill.com

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