Korea DPR
© Getty Images

The past
Korea DPR are among the most successful nations in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Despite missing out on the inaugural campaign in 2002 and the next edition in 2004, they took Russia 2006 by storm clinching the title as debutants. They continued their dominant form at Chile 2008, going all the way through to the final only to be edged out by USA. They also progressed beyond the group phase in the last two World Cups, where they lost out to the eventual champions on both occasions. At Germany 2010 they fell short against the hosts in the quarter-final clash, and two years ago in Japan they lost to USA after extra time at the same stage.

The present
Having won the AFC U-19 Championship in 2007, Korea DPR entered last year's competition seeking to recapture the Asian laurels. And Hwang Yong Bong's side showed their intent in the opener, thumping Australia 6-2 with forward Ri Un Sim completing a hat-trick. They continued their winning streak with a 1-0 defeat of hosts China and a 2-0 victory against Myanmar but lost to neighbours Korea Republic 2-1 in unexpected fashion. Despite the blow, they held Japan to a goalless draw with the precious point securing their place among the top three.

The future
Like their predecessors, this Korea DPR squad possesses pace and technical ability making them dangerous in attack. And their trademark fighting spirit was in evidence in their 1-0 win over China during which they did whatever they could in overcoming the home side. Spearheading their attacking-line are top-striker Ri Un Sim and strike partner Kim So Hyang, while Jon So Yon is a key figure in the midfield.