Korea DPR have it all to do when they meet Congo in the final round of games in Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011. Friday’s match in Morelia is one the Asians must win if they are to have a realistic chance of reaching the last 16, while the Africans know that victory will guarantee them a berth. A point may even be enough for the Congolese, depending on how the Netherlands fare against Mexico in the section's other game.
Athletic, direct and committed, the Congolese were too strong for the Netherlands in their opening match and posed serious problems for hosts Mexico in their second. The question is, having troubled two sides known for their cultured possession football, can they perform against a side with attributes similar to theirs? Coach Eddie Hudanski also has a selection quandary to ponder, with Cisse Bassoumba, Gildas Mpassi and Gloire Mayanith all suspended from Friday’s section finale.
The North Koreans took the lead in their two group matches to date but have only one point to show for their efforts. Organised and disciplined, they have made the most of the few chances that have come their way so far, but have little choice but to adopt a more adventurous approach against the Congolese. Failure to do so will probably mean an early flight home.
40 - The number of times African and Asian sides have come face to face in the competition, with the CAF’s representatives winning 18 to the AFC’s 12 and the other ten games ending in draws. Congo’s only previous meeting with an Asian team was a 0-0 draw with Qatar at Italy 1991, while Korea DPR beat Côte d’Ivoire 3-0 at Peru 2005 in their one and only FIFA U-17 World Cup encounter with African opposition.
“We’ve only got one point and we need four to go through. We need to prepare ourselves to win because nothing else will do,” Korea DPR coach An Ye Gun.
“We’ll be going out to beat Korea DPR although we know that a point might be enough. It all depends on how the game goes, but we’ll be looking for the three points, I can assure you,” Congo coach Eddie Hudanski.