Korea DPR
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The past
Korea DPR need no introduction after their dominant performances during the past three FIFA U-17 Women's World Cups. They emerged champions in the inaugural edition at New Zealand 2008, and stormed into the last four at Trinidad and Tobago two years later only to be edged 2-1 by Japan. The last campaign at Azerbaijan 2012 saw them again make it to the final, but missed the chance to clinch their second title with a penalty shoot-out defeat against France. Despite their outstanding form on the global stage, Korea DPR are relative underachievers on the Asian scene, losing out in the final of the past three AFC U-16 Women's Championship.

The present
Under coach Ri Song Ho, Korea DPR entered September's Asian qualifying seeking to claim their second continental title. A 6-0 demolition of Jordan was followed by a 10-0 rout of Chinese Taipei as Ri's outfit reached the last four in style. The semi-finals against hosts China proved evenly contested, but the visitors, thanks to some superior finishing, swept to a 3-1 win to seal a place in the final and passage to Costa Rica 2014. However, their continental jinx haunted them again as they lost to Japan on penalties in the decider

The future
While this Korea DPR squad possesses superb fitness, discipline and organisation like their predecessors, Ri's side have also demonstrated technical finesse throughout their qualifying campaign. With their trademark fighting spirit Korea DPR will be one of the favourites at Costa Rica 2014. Despite losing the final to Japan, Ri believed the Asian competition provided his side with chance to grow. "Our preparation for the next year’s World Cup begins tomorrow," he said after the Japan game. "We will work to ensure that we will not be making the same mistakes in Costa Rica."