By ISAAC LIRI
AFTER taking out Sweden with a 2-0 victory in their opening group A match at the Sir John Guise Stadium on Sunday, North Korea are now looking forward to their second and biggest test against Brazil.
Brazil did it easy in their tournament opener, hammering hosts Papua New Guinea 9-0, making their clash against the North Koreans a proper gauge of their chances at the World Cup.
While the Brazilians thrive on attacking football and entertaining fans, that style could be risky against their Asian opponents tomorrow, who were outstanding in defence and attack against a strong Swedish side.
North Korea coach Hwang Yongbong praised the effort of his players in their first game against Sweden but is expecting more from them when they face the South Americans as that match will determine their hopes of topping their pool.
“Brazil is a strong team at this tournament and we are expecting a strong game against them. If we get to win our second group match, the chances of making the finals will be very good,” Yongbong said.
He referred to their win over Sweden as a stepping stone which had put their side in a better position in their pool but, as coach, he had already identified areas of improvement. “We knew Sweden was going to be hard on us and we were happy to come up with the win.
“We missed a lot of opportunities,” he said. Brazil on the other hand would capitalise on their big win over the hosts and use that as a stepping stone against the North Koreans.
North Korea and Brazil will play their last group matches against PNG and Sweden on Sunday. European champions Sweden will have to beat PNG and Brazil in order to finish in the top two of the group and they get that chance tomorrow when they play Lisa Cole’s PNG U20s at the SJGS.
By ISAAC LIRI