We like to make fun of North Korea, and there’s plenty to make fun of when you’re talking about perhaps the most backward country on the planet. Of course, although we like to kid, without devolving too much into politics, it’s a pretty sad situation (go watch a documentary, it’s worth your time) all around. Still, there are certain things in life you don’t do, and confusing the South Korean flag (one not even recognized by North Korea) with the North Korean one is certainly one of them. Consider it akin to using an ethnic or homophobic slur, you just don’t do it, whether it’s an accident or not. So I don’t blame them for walking off the field, and I give them credit for coming back. The game itself was ugly, North Korea got three points, but there was nothing in it that would scare me if I’m the United States or France. We’ll see if I have to eat that last sentence in the next week.
1) South America appears to be behind Africa in women’s soccer development
Which is kind of a sad statement from a South American perspective. It has become increasingly obvious that Brazil wins in spite of its country and not because of it (or its federation for the most part), and Colombia has clearly shown itself to be second over the last couple of years. But while Cameroon and South Africa at least showed some discipline today, Colombia was all over the place on numerous occasions. Not only that, their fitness looked terrible (Cat Whitehill insinuated on the broadcast that she heard Colombia doesn’t bother with fitness), and – while they showed some individual skill at times – they generally looked lost. Something to keep an eye on in the future, I guess.
2) North Korea was a little better, but…
They did get the result, and it was a fairly comfortable one, but – as with Colombia – they had a lot of trouble with cramps and little injuries, probably meaning they weren’t quite match fit (although I guess some of it could be the delay and having to warm up basically twice). As North Korea will do, they’ll press and play hard, but they didn’t seem to have the cutting edge we’ve seen from some of the vintage North Korean teams of the past. Their first goal was a Colombian mess in the back, and the second was a goalkeeping error, and I’ve already said how poor I thought the Colombians were. Again, I’ll be happy to eat whatever bird you wish if one of those teams gets a result the rest of the way.
3) Who is Kim Song Hui?
Well, we know, despite being subbed off with an injury after her second goal that she’s joint leader in scoring at the Olympics through one game. And this is why we love North Korea. According to FIFA, she scored five goals at the U-20 World Cup in 2006, including a hat trick in the final, which saw North Korea beat China 5-0 (really, they did). She was voted Asian Young Player of the Year for that year.
And then, according to FIFA again, she disappeared until today?
Mysteriously, though, a Kil Song Hui started and scored against the United States in a 2-2 draw in the 2007 World Cup. Led by the Kil Song Hui, North Korea made it to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual winners Germany. The Kil Song Hui shows up again in the 2008 Olympics, but didn’t score. Kil Song Hui also shows up in 2008 Asian Cup boxscores, which North Korea won. Then, for the 2011 World Cup? Nothing.
(We can find a little on Ri-Kum-Suk, even if it is a little comical with the propaganda.)
Sadly, with North Korea already banned from the 2015 World Cup, we’ll never know if it was the same person, or why she wasn’t on the 2011 roster. In that sick way, I’ll miss North Korea.