The past
While Korea DPR have established themselves as a major power at this age level in Asia over the past decade, it is long-term planning that has borne fruit. The Youth Chollima's first bid for the FIFA U-17 World Cup dates back to the Asian qualifiers in 1986. However, the maiden qualification didn't come until 2004 when they finished the Asian campaign as runners-up. After emulating the same feat two years later, they won their first continental title in 2010 to seal their FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance at Mexico 2011. They have twice progressed beyond the group phase, storming to the second round in 2005 and 2007.

The present
Taking heart from their achievements over recent years, Korea DPR entered the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship seeking to cement their place among Asia's best. Yon Kwang-mu's charges opened brightly with a 3-0 rout of Kuwait and despite being edged out 3-2 by defending champions Uzbekistan, they demolished Nepal 4-1 to seal their place in the knockout stage. They showcased their unity and fight-spirit with two penalty shoot-out victories - over Iran and Australia – to lift Yon's side through to the final. Korea DPR maintained their form in the tournament’s ultimate game, outmuscling Korea Republic 2-1 to lift the trophy for a second time.

The future
A series of talented players were unearthed during Korea DPR's successful qualifying campaign. The most notable is captain Han Kwang Song, who finished the team's top-scorer with four goals as they conquered Asia. Midfield maestro Choe Song Hyok was also on target three times, including netting the final and tournament winning-goal. Also worth mentioning are goalkeeper Ri Chol Song, whose heroics helped achieve two penalty shoot-out triumphs. Armed with such talents, it is natural for coach Yon to voice optimism for next year's FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. "Their skill and technique and their determination has developed," he said, "We will prepare well and show Asia's development at the World Cup."

Facts and Figures

Key players
Han Kwang Song, Cho Song Hyok, Ri Chol Song

The stat
- Korea DPR won their second Asian title in the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship, during which they netted 12 times, averaging two goals per match.