North Korean broadcasting agency calls 1-0 result over Japan a "proud victory"

Soccer fans in the reclusive nation were able to watch their team defeat the reigning Asian champions soon after the match concluded.
North Korean state news agency Korean Central Television scrapped its evening broadcast plans in order to re-broadcast the entirety of the country's 1-0 win over Japan at Kim Il-Sung Stadium in Pyongyang, according to Japanese news agency Radio Press.

Footage of the match itself was broadcast uncut, while North Koreans lucky enough to own one of the approximately 1.2 million TV sets in the country did not see the portion of the pre-match ceremonies that included the playing of Japan's national anthem, "Kimi Ga Yo," which was loudly booed by the 50,000 supporters that filled the stadium.

In recent years, scheduled matches between the two countries have been played in neutral venues after North Korean officials refused to display the Japanese national flag or play their national anthem.

The 150 Japanese supporters who attended the match, the first in Pyongyang for the Samurai Blue since 1989, had cameras as well as replica uniforms featuring the Japanese national flag confiscated at Pyongyang International Airport. They were previously prohibited from bringing flags, banners, drums, or other noisemakers.

North Korean supporters could be seen banging dozens drums and waving national flags throughout the match; tens of thousands enacted a large-scale card display across the entire back stand that praised Kim Il-Sung and the national team.

The tape-delay is considered typical for international sporting events broadcast within the reclusive nation; in last year's World Cup, the team's 2-1 loss to Brazil was presented at least 17 hours after the fact while their 7-0 defeat against Portugal was the first match from abroad to be broadcast live in the country.

"Today's proud victory brought faith and encouragement to the soldiers and citizens on the front lines of the final battle to establish our great nation," said a narrator at the conclusion of the Japan match.

Although North Korean news agencies continued to report on the victory on Wednesday morning, none have mentioned that the national team was mathematically eliminated from World Cup qualifying following last Friday's loss to Uzbekistan.
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