There isn't a budding young footballer on the globe who doesn't dream of becoming the hero of their team, cherishing hopes of one day scoring a decisive late goal in a vital match.

The harsh fact is that such dreams can only be fulfilled by a few, and sometimes only a handful of times in a career. To do it twice in the space of three games, therefore, and at the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals to boot is a feat that almost seems too incredible to be true.

The miracle worker
Yet that is exactly what Korea DPR's supersub striker Rim Chol Min has achieved for his side over the last few days, coming off the bench on two occasions to secure the four points that have helped the Koreans advance to the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

The first of his priceless strikes came against England on the opening day of the competition. After coming on with 23 minutes to go, he popped up in the final minute to pounce on a loose ball in the English area and hand his side a valuable point.

He completed his two-card trick just days later in the final group game against New Zealand. Given 26 minutes to work his magic this time, he arrived on cue with nine minutes to go, pouncing on an error by the Kiwi rearguard to notch the winner in an ultimately crucial 2-1 victory.

"Naturally I'm delighted at scoring those two goals for my country. It's a dream come true," the modest matchwinner tells "It's not all about me, though. I couldn't have scored them without my team-mates."

Born on 24 November 1990, Rim hails from Sinuiju, the capital of North Pyongyang Province, a city with a population of around 300,000 and located in the west of the country, on the shores of the Yellow Sea. It was there, where the player still lives, that he took his first steps in the game.

"I started kicking a ball around when I was a kid," recalls the hero of the hour. "As a five-year-old I began imitating the players I saw on TV like Ronaldo and [Zinedine] Zidane. By the time I was seven, my father saw that I could play a bit and he took me to Chongsong, my primary school team. From that moment on football became a very important part of my life."

A self-confessed lover of rice cakes and romantic music, Rim puts his imposing frame to effective use on the pitch, where his main attributes are his agility and nose for goal.

"I don't think I'm that great a player, but I know I need to keep on working hard if I want to play for the full national side one day." Taking part in this World Cup is a great opportunity to play against the best and to improve."

Spain next in Rim's sights
Reaching the knockout rounds is a highly significant landmark as far as Rim is concerned. "I think it shows that football has come on a lot in our country, and that we can expect a bright future for the other national teams coming up behind us. I also hope it encourages people at home to go out and play more sport."

The willowy striker is not getting too carried away about his side's unlikely run, however. "I'm not really that happy with our performances so far, and we need to improve if we want to be on the same level as Brazil or Nigeria, for example."

And when the subject turns to Wednesday's rivals Spain, Rim is equally forthright. "They are one of the strongest sides around and have the potential to beat us. That doesn't mean to say we can't beat them, though. If we do win, it will be as much of a surprise for us as it will for them. To do that, though, we need to be mentally stronger than them."

The home fans have been giving Rim and his colleagues plenty of backing so far at Korea 2007, and it is logical to assume that with the host nation exiting at the group stage, that support will become even more vociferous. "The people in Jeju and Ulsan have been really good to us and I'm grateful for that. It's for that reason that I feel we share the same blood and are the same nation."

Having accomplished his dream of hitting a late winner for his side, can Rim cap it all with a winner's medal? It is a question that draws a considered response from the man himself. "It's not a matter of getting the opportunity or not, but of having the ability to just go out there and do it. We'll see what happens, but make no mistake; it's definitely a dream of mine."