Tomorrow's eagerly anticipated all-Korean FIFA World Cup™ preliminary clash will be the 13th time North and South have been pitted against each other on the football field. Korea Republic go into the match with the historical edge of by six wins to Korea DPR's two, and the South Koreans' record looks even more impressive in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where they have beaten their northern rivals twice: 1-0 and 3-0 in the preliminaries for Italy 1990 and USA 1994 respectively.
Now, as these two best of enemies limber up for their latest showdown, FIFA.com looks back to October 1989 and the first-ever preliminary meeting between North and South.
16 October 1989, National Stadium, Singapore
Korea Republic 1-0 Korea DPR
Scorer: Hwang 18
Korea Republic: Kim Poong-Joo, Park Kyung-Hoon, Choi Kang-Hee, Yoon Deok-Yeo, Jung Yong-Hwan, Gu Sang-Bum, Kim Sang-Ho (Lee Young-Jin 71), Kim Joo-Sung, Hwangbo Kwan (Byun Byung-Joo 62), Choi Soon-Ho, Hwang Sun-Hong
Korea DPR: Kim Chi-Won, Jong Yong-Man, Kim Gwang-Min, Bang Gwang-Chol, Jon Man-Ho, Yun Jong-Su, Tak Yong-Bin, Kim Pung-Il (Kim Yong-Nam 77), Han Hyong-Il, Ju Kyong-Shik, Ri Yong-Jin (Ri Hyok-Chon 59)
Having reached the final round by winning their respective first stage groups, both Koreas were aiming for one of the two Italy 1990 slots allocated to the six-team section. All was not going to plan, however, with Korea DPR having been held to a goalless draw by United Arab Emirates in the opening match before their southerly neighbours stumbled to an identical result against Qatar. Both sides needed maximum points if only to overcome their sluggish start and put themselves back in the race for a place at the FIFA World Cup finals.
Above the quest for vital points, however, stood the importance of emerging with pride strengthened from this national 'derby' with a twist.
Korea Republic took control of the game from the outset and seized a deserved lead in the 18th minute, when Hwang rose between two defenders to head home Gu Sang-Bum's cross from the left. North Korean goalkeeper Kim Chi-Won attempted to punch the ball clear but could only watch helplessly as onrushing Hwang nipped in first to head the ball into the left-hand corner of the net.
Kim was, however, quick to atone when speedy winger Kim Joo-Sung was denied after being slipped clean through in the 26th minute. Hwang then wasted a glorious chance to double his team's lead and his own tally after collecting neat passes from Choi Soon-Ho and Kim Joo-Sung five minutes from the interval.
In the second half, the North Koreans launched a series of ferocious attacks as the South sat back to defend the slight advantage. Ju Kyong-Shik and Han Hyong-Il both tried their luck from a distance shortly after the hour-mark, while Kim Poong-Joo came to the South's rescue by brilliantly saving from Yun Jong-Su.
Despite playing most of the second period in their own half, Korea Republic held on to claim an historic win, which was described as "a green light on the road to Rome" by the Donga Ilbo newspaper. Another publication, meanwhile, Hankook Ilbo hailed Hwang for scoring "the golden winner".
Affectionately dubbed Hwangsae ('The Stork') because of his long legs and a graceful playing style, Hwang Sun-Hong - the youngest player in the South Korean squad - became a national hero at the age of 21 by scoring the only goal of the game. By claiming five of the 25 goals Korea Republic scored in the first round, Hwang established himself as the natural choice to partner veteran striker Choi Soon-Ho.
"The players fought much better than I had expected, and Choi Soon-Ho, Kim Poong-Joo, and Gu Sang-Bum were just incredible. We were physically inferior to our opponent in the second half, which we will have to deal with in the games to come. The North Koreans also played well but our game plan was better than theirs. Besides, Lady Luck was on our side," Korea Republic coach Lee Hoe-Taik.
"We lacked the experience on the international stage, which was why we lost tonight. I have to admit that we couldn't convert our chances and the South Korean goalkeeper was simply outstanding. But hopefully, we'll do our best in the remaining games to make it to the finals." Korea DPR coach Pak Du-Ik.
What happened next...
Korea Republic went on to beat China PR and Saudi Arabia before drawing with UAE to top the group, while Korea DPR bounced back to win against Qatar but eventually finished bottom of the group after losing to China and Saudi Arabia. The South Koreans could not maintain this momentum, however, and lost all three matches to Belgium, Spain, and Uruguay in the Italian-held finals, with Hwangbo Kwan's scorcher against Spain the only consolation for the Taeguk Warriors.