Five years ago, an already-eliminated Korea DPR fought hard to overcome hosts Bahrain 3-2 in the final qualifying game for Germany 2006. With this, they not only claimed their first and only win in the final qualifying round but also unearthed a fresh attacking talent in An Cho-Hyok.
It was with the score at 2-2, and both sides searching desperately for a winner, that the then 20-year-old rose to the occasion with the decisive strike just a minute from time. His finishing talents did not go unnoticed by coach Kim Jong-Hun, who called him into his squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers. His first appearance came in the crucial game away to the United Arab Emirates, when he came off bench to replace Kim Yong-Jun midway through the opening half.
UAE dominated, but after Korea DPR had taken the lead against the run of play, An scored a superb solo effort with ten minutes remaining to seal victory. Later, on the back of three appearances in Korea DPR’s successful South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign, the Rimyongsu Sports Group forward ran riot against Guam in last August’s preliminaries for the 2010 East Asian Football Federation Championship, netting four times as they thrashed the islanders 9-2.