Korea DPR wrote their name in the annals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup when they won the first edition of the tournament in New Zealand in 2008, and they penned another chapter in its history on Saturday.
Proving that there is more to their game than just an ability to win titles, the Asians set a new tournament record by thumping Gambia 11-0, with six of the goals being shared by Ri Kyong-Hyang and Ri Un-Sim, the latest insatiable goalgetters to come off the North Korean production line.
The deadly duo, who play their football for Korea DPR’s biggest club April 25, helped the North Koreans get off to a flying start in Group B, and more than played their part in their country’s biggest ever victory in a FIFA competition, eclipsing the 9-0 win their older compatriots gained over Argentina in the group phase of the recent FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012.
Their one-sided show in Baku was also the most comprehensive win ever recorded in a FIFA women’s youth tournament and the second biggest in all FIFA men’s and women’s competitions, behind Spain’s 13-0 defeat of New Zealand at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Egypt 1997.
The result was also Korea DPR's biggest win at a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, demolishing their previous best – a 4-0 triumph against Denmark at New Zealand 2008.
Though the two young goalgetters can be well pleased with their efforts, they are by no means the only young North Koreans to help themselves to a hatful of goals in a world finals match. Fellow countrywoman Kim Un-Hwa struck five of her side’s nine goals against the Argentinians in Japan a month ago, while Kim Su-Gyong got on the scoresheet three times in the same game. In the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Russia 2006, meanwhile, Kim Song-Hui hit a hat-trick in Korea DPR’s emphatic 5- 0 triumph against China PR.
Another notable factor about the North Koreans’ performance on Saturday was the fact that no fewer than six players found the back of the net, the first time this has ever happened in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup match.
Coach Hwang Yong-Bong was understandably delighted with his forwards when he gave his reaction to the game: “I’m very satisfied with the win. It was important for the players to relax and add to their experience.”
Mindful that bigger tasks lie ahead, however, he then turned his thoughts to their next game, Wednesday’s meeting with France at the Dalgha Arena: “I think what they learned here in this opening match will stand them in very good stead for the game with France, who are a very strong side. I believe in our players, though, and I think it’s going to be a very interesting match for both sides.”