The defending champions open their campaign against Philippines. Goal.com previews the clash.....
Hyok,Pak Chol Chon, Kwang-ik
Han Jae,Yong Hak, Yong-Gi, In-Guk
J.Younghusband, Mulders, De Jong, Bahadoran,
Araneta, P. Younghusband
DPR Korea kick-off their Challenge Cup 2012 campaign against Philippines in a Group B encounter on March 9th.
The Chollima, who even qualified for the 2010 World Cup, remain one of the enigmas of world football, shrouded in secrecy.
They come into the tournament after having wrapped up their World Cup qualification campaign, knocked out, having finished third in their group behind Uzbekistan and Japan. They did however, beat Japan 1-0 at home in November 2011 and drew their last two games before their trip to Nepal, drawing 1-1 with Kuwait in a friendly and following that up with a 1-1 draw against Tajikistan in a World Cup qualifier.
So Yun Jong Su’s men enter the tournament in decent form, and look like a side which should progress through to the knockout stages. Their strength as always, will be a very composed and solid defense with the reliable Ri-Myong Guk in goal behind them, while they shall look to hit the opposition on the counter and press them into making mistakes with their strong work ethic.
Football In Philippines Is On An Upward Swing...
Philippines make a re-entry into the tournament after having not qualified for the last two editions and they would be looking to surprise quite a few observers by marking their participation with an upset victory over the highly fancied defending champions.
The game has been on a upwards swing in the country, with them recording their first World Cup qualifier win against Sri Lanka in June last year before dispatching off Nepal 4-0 in a friendly in November. In their last international match before the Challenge Cup, the Azkals were a whisker away from a win against Malaysia before conceding in the very last minute. The team’s fortunes have improved since it took to playing a more direct, counter-attacking style of football.
Michael Weiss’ squad has a few players who ply their trade abroad, with goalkeeper Niel Etheridge and defender Dennis Cagara of Fulham and FSV Frankfurt respectively being two of the more high profile players in their team.
The duo can expect a tough game against North Korea and will definitely have to be at their best if the Azkals are to have a hope of beating the Chollima. Another problem for Philippines will be the altitude, which they are not particularly used to and that could affect their performances, as the coach pointed out in a recent interview.
|| DID YOU KNOW?
- Philippines is the only team amongst the eight nations in the competition who had to play a pre-qualifier.
- Paulino Alcantara, from Philippines was the first Asian player to play in Europe – and for no lesser a club than Barcelona!
- DPR Korea might have played in the 2010 World Cup, but that didn’t really help them get star status back home. They were made to work in a construction site right after the World Cup as punishment for their performances in South Africa.
- While Philippines have never qualified for a major football tournament, they were one of the 12 Asian associations that actually founded the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).