FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018

5 - 24 August

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup

Kim So Hyang's sweet taste of revenge

© Getty Images

Eleven wins and eight goals in 16 appearances at FIFA competitions. These figures, which belong to Kim So Hyang, are beyond many players' wildest dreams, let alone at the tender age of 20. However, this record does not tell the full story: these outings have been punctuated by two major heartbreaks that the Korea DPR forward at long last went some way towards healing earlier today.

"I haven't forgotten when we lost to France in the final of the U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan or when we fell to them again two years later in the play-off for third place at the U-20 World Cup in Canada. We were all devastated after those matches," she told in an exclusive interview.

The shoe is on the other foot this time round: "Now that we've beaten them to become world champions, I think we've finally gained sweet revenge. I've got no qualms about saying that this is the happiest moment of my life," she said, her beaming smile and misty eyes laying bare her glee and emotion.

Lest we forget, this revenge was four long years in the making, stretching all the way back to 13 October 2012, the date of the first of the aforementioned losses. It is understandable, then, that Kim and her team-mates were positively jubilant about finally being crowned champions and getting to lift the trophy. Amid the euphoria, the starlet spared a thought for the fans in Papua New Guinea and back at home: "I'm really delighted. What means the most to me about all this is being able to bring all this joy to my compatriots."

We'd never seen anything like this before; I'm really proud to give our people these joyous experiences.

Kim was a key attacking figure for a side whose 21 goals made them the highest-scoring team in the competition. Indeed, her stellar performances earned her individual recognition in the shape of the adidas Silver Ball: "I'm really happy to have received the Silver Ball, but it doesn't compare to the feeling I had when we were up on the platform and they gave us the trophy as champions of the competition," said the buzzing No20, who helped herself to four goals during her country's run to glory.

Before taking her leave to continue celebrating with her team-mates, Kim had time to look back a few weeks and muse on how this victory caps what has been an unforgettable 2016 for North Korean women's football, after the nation also triumphed at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan.

"I'm humbled to be part of such a successful year. Korea DPR won the U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan a few weeks ago, and now we've been lucky enough to run out champions too here in Papua New Guinea. We'd never seen anything like this before; I'm really proud to give our people these joyous experiences," the 20-year-old said.

Kim So Hyang is sure to sleep easy and happily tonight. After all, she has just laid to rest demons dating back no fewer than four years.

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