Thursday, June 10, 2010

ROK and DPRK likely not going to be facing each other in World Cup 2010

I recently saw an interactive schedule for the 2010 World Cup and noticed that both South Korea and North Korea are in this year's world cup. This immediately conjured up images of an actual chance of having a head-to-head match between the two nations, which are still technically at war with each other. True, no major battle has been waged for over fifty years, but tensions are still high, especially now with South Korea blaming their neighbors of torpedoing one of their navy ships.

It made for the possibility of a Korean version of the US vs USSR at ice hockey, like what happened at the Sapporo Olympics in 1972 (US 2 - USSR 7 in the "final round"), Innsbruck Olympics in 1976 (US 2 - USSR 6 in the "final round"), and Lake Placid Olympics in 1980 (US 4 - USSR 3). (The US didn't make it past the first round in the Sarajevo Olympics of 1984, nor in the Calgary Olympics of 1988, and of course, the USSR no longer existed during the 1992 Albertville Olympics, although the US did play the "Unified Team" of former Soviet states, and lost 2-5.) However, the likelihood of there being a South vs. North Korea game is diminishingly small:

South Korea (ROK) is in Group B. North Korea (DPRK) is in Group G. If I read it properly, then both the ROK and the DPRK need to make it all the way to the semifinals before they might play off against each other. This is highly unlikely to happen, since the DPRK has only qualified for two World Cups (in addition to two Olympics and one Asia Games), and the ROK has a better record of seven World Cup appearances (i.e., the DPRK is likely not to continue to the second round).

I also can't imagine there being a lot of DPRK fans that are out to cheer for their team in South Africa...

(On a side note, the DPRK won't be able to play against other long-time enemies, Japan and the USA, at least until the quarter finals.)

No comments: