Korea Republic have the best FIFA World Cup™ record of any Asian team, but there will be plenty of pride at stake for their northern neighbours when the pair meet. Korea DPR stunned the watching world by reaching the quarter-finals at England 1966, defeating Italy 1-0 in the process - arguably the biggest upset in the history of the showpiece event. Given their impressive performances in recent FIFA events, the North Koreans look more than capable of causing another upset, this time against their nearest rivals. However, the South Koreans will take heart from the past: the two Koreas have met 11 times, with Korea Republic winning six, drawing three and losing two. Notably, the Taeguk Warriors won the both fixtures in FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1989 and 1993.
Meanwhile, Jordan and Turkmenistan have met each other twice in the preliminary round for Korea/Japan 2002. Turkmenistan came out winners on both occasions, winning 2-0 at home before advancing to the second stage with a 2-1 victory in Amman. This time, however, the sides will cross swords in the third round, so it would be difficult to predict the outcome.
KoreaRepublic: The South Koreans have been without a coach for four months now, and whoever will be appointed will face the daunting task of guiding the Red Devils through to their seventh consecutive finals. Few, however, would expect Korea Republic to fall in the first hurdle.
Korea DPR: The North Koreans have successfully shaken off the 'underdogs' tag by qualifying for almost every international competition - at various age levels - over the past year. Now they will be aiming for South Africa 2010, where they could make their first appearance in the finals in 44 years.
Turkmenistan: Although name of the Central Asian side might not be familiar to football fans around the world, Turkmenistan were the surprise packages of the 1998 Asian Games, where they beat Korea Republic 3-2. So it will be interesting to see if they can inflict another loss on the group favourites.
The players to watch
Park Ji-Sung (KOR), Lee Young-Pyo (KOR), Lee Dong-Gook (KOR), Pak Chol-Min (PRK), Jong Chol-Min (PRK), Mahmoud Shelbaieh (JOR), Artur Gevorkyan (TKM).
Korea Republic-Korea DPR. This will be the third encounter between the two Koreas in a FIFA World Cup preliminary competition, and the winners are likely to clinch pole position of this group. The atmosphere when these sides meet will be incredible regardless of the circumstances.
A look back
KoreaRepublic3-0KoreaDPR,28October1993,Doha. In this classic match between the South and the North, Korea Republic booked the last ticket to USA 94, with a famous win. The result is still remembered as 'the miracle of Doha' among South Koreans.
89: Korea Republic have played more qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup than any other Asian team, winning 55, another statistic none of their AFC counterparts can compete with. Other records they hold include the longest unbeaten run (28) and the greatest number of consecutive wins (12).
Did you know?
Despite making their FIFA World Cup preliminary debut on 21 November 1965, Korea DPR's first qualifier on home soil came in a 0-0 draw with Japan in Pyongyang on 30 April 1985.
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