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DPRK qualify for 1st World Cup since 1966

[ 2009-06-19 13:25]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) qualified for its first World Cup finals since 1966 when it drew with Saudi Arabia 0-0 on Wednesday.

The DPRK joined Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) as Asia's automatic qualifiers.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the third-place finishers in the two Asian groups, will meet in playoffs on September 5 and 9. The winner of that will then face Oceania champion New Zealand in October and November for a bid in next year's World Cup in South Africa.

The DPRK ended its campaign second to the ROK in Group 2, edging the Saudis on goal difference.

The ROK finished with 16 points from eight games, the DPRK 12, Saudi Arabia 12, Iran 11 and United Arab Emirates 1.

The DPRK knew a draw would be good enough to qualify, and concentrated on defense to ensure a stalemate at King Fahd International Stadium.

The Saudis dominated, while the Koreans were content to be restricted to counterattacks, but the latter had survived a jittery finish against the Saudis after Kim Yong-jun was sent off in stoppage time.

The Saudis, bidding for their fifth successive finals appearance, play Bahrain over two legs in September with the winners advancing to a home and away playoff against New Zealand in October and November.

Bahrain has never qualified for the World Cup finals but came close four years ago, winning the Asian playoff against Uzbekistan.

In other matches, Iran was eliminated after a 1-1 draw against the ROK.

Tim Cahill scored twice as Australia came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in Melbourne to finish top of Group One, although they have both qualified in the previous round.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

DPRK qualify for 1st World Cup since 1966

About the broadcaster:

DPRK qualify for 1st World Cup since 1966

Siberian-born Kristina Koveshnikova is a freelance journalist from New Zealand who has worked in print, television and film. After completing a BCS degree majoring in journalism, she won an Asia NZ Foundation/Pacific Media Centre award to work for China Daily website. Kristina previously did internships at ABC 7 News in Washington DC and TVNZ in New Zealand and has written for a number of publications, including The New Zealand Herald and East & Bays Courier.