Korea DPR
© AFC

The past
Korea DPR won the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup at New Zealand 2008, but their fourth-place finish in the following edition of the biannual tournament must have been a disappointing result for the defending champions given their strong record at youth level. After a 3-2 reverse at the hands of Nigeria, the North Koreans recovered from the sluggish start with victories over Chile and hosts Trinidad & Tobago to set up a quarter-finals date with Germany. Kim Kum-Jong scored the only goal of the game as Korea DPR reached the last four, only to then go down 2-1 against Japan.

The present
The North Koreans took part in the 2011 AFC U-16 Women's Championship optimistic of putting aside the bitter memory of a 4-0 defeat by neighbours Korea Republic in the final two years earlier. Although Hwang Yong-Bong's side lost 1-0 to Japan conceding a last-minute goal in the opening match, they bounced back in style with sweet revenge - a 4-0 win over Korea Republic. Ri Kyong-Hyang scored a last-gasp winner against Australia in the following game, before a hard-fought 1-0 victory over hosts China PR earned them a berth at Azerbaijan 2012. Korea DPR then rounded off their campaign with an 8-0 drubbing of Thailand.

The future
Korea DPR are renowned for their solid organisation and disciplined approach to the game, but coach Hwang Yong-Bong believes that they would need something more in order to achieve their goal in the world finals. "We will have to concentrate our composure up front to score more goals. Sometimes we fail to do so and we need to work on this aspect," he said after his side finished runners-up in the continental championship. "I hope we will be able to overcome these shortcomings before the World Cup and win the event."

Facts and figures
Former stars
Jon Myong-Hwa, Yun Hyon-Hi (2008), Kim Kum-Jong, Kim Su-Gyong (2010)

Key players
Ri Un-Sim (forward), Ri Kyong-Hyang (forward), Kim Pyong-Hwa (midfielder)

The stat
9
- Ri Un-Sim scored nine goals - including seven against Thailand - out of Korea DPR's 14 in the Asian qualifiers for Azerbaijan 2012, a barometer of how much the North Koreans are relying on the feet of their No10.