December 29, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 6 months ago

FACTBOX-Soccer-North Korea at the Asian Cup

Dec 29 (Reuters) - Factbox on North Korea ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:

FIFA world ranking: 109

Ranking in Asia: 18

Previous Asian Cups: 4

Best performance: Fourth place (1980)

2015: Group stage

Nickname: Chollima

Coach: Kim Yong-jun

Regular captain: Ri Myong-guk

Player to watch: Jong Il-gwan

Recent form:

Oct 13 Uzbekistan 2-0 North Korea Tashkent

Nov 11 North Korea 4-1 Mongolia Taipei

Nov 13 Hong Kong 0-0 North Korea Taipei

Nov 16 Taiwan 0-2 North Korea Taipei

Dec 25 Vietnam 1-1 North Korea Hanoi


Group E

Jan 8 Saudi Arabia v North Korea Dubai

Jan 14 North Korea v Qatar Al Ain

Jan 17 Lebanon v North Korea Sharjah

North Korea qualified for the Asian Cup under Jorn Andersen, only for the former Norway striker to stand down from his role due to difficulties brought on by sanctions imposed on the state.

He has been replaced by Kim Yong-jun, who was a member of the North Korea squad at the 2010 World Cup finals.

Kim leads a squad featuring players from the domestic league, those based overseas such a promising teenager Han Kwang-song — currently with Italy’s Perugia — and several born in Japan, giving North Korea an unpredictable feel. (Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)

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