The past
Since the country's men broke ground with a last-eight finish at the 1966 FIFA World Cup, Korea DPR have made precious little impact at international level. However, the country has seen a recent re-emergence as an Asian power in the women's game. The seniors have conquered Asia time and again since 2001, and their youth team took the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup by storm winning the title as debutants. That kind of success is a strong sign suggesting the East Asian nation has developed into a world power in women's football.

The present
As expected, the defending world champions made rather light work of the group-stage qualifiers in Asia last year. A 3-0 mauling of Myanmar was followed by a 2-1 defeat of Australia. In the last group fixture they beat Japan 3-1 to book passage to the semi-finals, where they went on to progress with an emphatic 4-1 win over hosts China, a result which also sealed their place at Chile 2008. In the tournament capper against Japan, they kept their cool to win by a solitary goal to claim the continental youth crown.

The future
That title marked the first time Korea DPR topped Asia at youth level. They stumbled twice in the semi-finals in the continental competitions in 2002 and 2004, before losing to China in the final by a lone goal in Malaysia in 2006. Coach Choe Kwang-sok, who guided his team to the winners' podium at Russia 2006, is quick to point it out that the team's hard training paid off. "I am glad to see the team played well throughout the competition," he said. "And it was our physical fitness that had us in good stead against our strong rivals."

Facts
Former stars
Ri Un Suk, Kim Song Hui (2006)

Key players
Choe Un Ju (midfield), Ra Un Sim, Ri Jong Sim (forward), Pak Kuk Hui (defence)

Qualifying statistics
Five wins from five games played, 13 goals scored, three conceded.

The numbers game
1 - the number of times Korea DPR have won title at both continental competition and the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cups.