Korea DPR

The past
Having won the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in their maiden journey to the world finals at Russia 2006 before finishing second at Chile 2008, Korea DPR are one of the most successful sides at this age level. The North Koreans went on to take part in Germany 2010, where they beat Brazil and New Zealand to reach the quarter-finals. However, Germany proved too strong for Choe Kwang-Sok’s charges as they made a premature exit after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the eventual champions.

The present
Korea DPR qualified for this year’s finals by finishing runners-up in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in 2011. After coming from behind to defeat neighbours Korea Republic 2-1 in their opening match, the North Koreans edged Australia 1-0 before drubbing hosts Vietnam 5-0. Their winning streak came to a halt with a 2-1 defeat by defending champions Japan, but they rounded off the campaign with a 4-0 victory over China PR. They amassed no fewer than 13 goals in the process, while conceding only three goals in five matches.

The future
Although they have narrowly missed their chance to win the continental crown, the North Koreans were one of the most difficult sides to beat with playmaker Jon Myong-Hwa performing consistently well throughout the competition. Coach Sin Ui-Gun will be hoping to see his No10 again in inspirational form when Japan 2012 gets underway this summer.

Facts and figures
Former stars
Kim Kyong-Hwa (2006), Ra Un-Sim (2008), Ho Un-Byol (2010)

Key players
Jon Myong-Hwa (midfielder), Yun Hyon-Hi (forward), Pong Son-Hwa (defender)

The stat
– Yun Hyon-Hi scored five of Korea DPR’s 13 goals during the continental championship last year, including a couple of braces against Vietnam and China PR.