Korea Republic were frustrated by stubborn North Korean defending on Wednesday as their much-anticipated FIFA World Cup™ qualifying showdown ended in a goalless stalemate.

The South Koreans, despite fielding top stars such as Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung, failed to convert a series of chances in the clash, which was moved from Pyongyang in a dispute over flags and anthems.

After a cagey first half, both teams upped the tempo with Fulham's Seol Ki-Hyeon just missing a cross from South Korean team-mate Yeom Ki-Hun.

Cho Won-Hee shot over as the South pressed forward before Korea DPR's Jong Tae-Se, known as 'Asia's Wayne Rooney', found space at the back and saw his close-range shot deflected wide by a lunging Lee Jung-Soo.

Park Chu-Young later headed over as the mouth-watering clash fizzled out at Shanghai's Hongkou Stadium.

In the first half, South Korea's Lee Jung-Soo had tested Ri Myong-Guk with a header while Jong fed Hong Yong-Jo for a shot that sailed wide.

The teams have contrasting FIFA World Cup histories, with 2002 semi-finalists Korea Republic seeking a seventh straight berth and the North bidding for a first appearance since 1966, when they shocked the globe by reaching the last eight.

South Korea's next game is against Jordan in Seoul on 31 May, while North Korea next faces Turkmenistan on the road on 2 June.

The Koreas face each other again on 22 June in Seoul. South Korea have lost just once in 11 matches against the North, whom they lead by goal difference only at the top of Group 3.