North Korea unveils World Cup roster

North Korea named its 23-man squad on Thursday for the World Cup in South Africa.

North Korea has named three overseas players to its 23-man squad for next month's World Cup.

The 1966 quarter-finalist has called up Japan-based duo An Yong Hak of Omiya Ardija and Kawasaki Frontale striker Jong Tae Se as it prepares for its first appearance at the tournament in 44 years. Forward Hong Yong Jo of Russia's FC Rostov is the only European-based player.

Ryang Yong Gi, another Japan-based star with Vegalta Sendai, was overlooked despite finishing as the top scorer in North Korea's 2010 AFC Challenge Cup victory earlier this year.

North Korea, which qualified second from its group behind neighbouring South Korea, is drawn with Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal in Group G at the World Cup.

Coach Kim Jong Hun told broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang that the team would have "a great success" in South Africa as he and 21 of the players departed Sunday for training in Switzerland. An and Jong will join the team in Europe.

North Korea will meet Paraguay in a friendly Saturday before more warmup matches against Greece, Congo and Nigeria before opening its World Cup campaign against Brazil at Johannesburg on June 15.

North Korean Squad

Goalkeepers:Kim Myong Gil (Amrokgang), Kim Myong Won (Amrokgang), Ri Myong Guk (Pyongyang City)

Defenders: Cha Jong Hyok (Amrokgang), Ri Jun Il (Sobaeksu), Ri Kwang Chon (April 25), Nam Song Chol (April 25), Pak Nam Chol (Amrokgang), Ri Kwang Hyok (Kyonggongop), Pak Chol Jin (Amrokgang)

Midfielders: Ji Yum Nam (April 25), Mun In Guk (April 25), Pak Sung Hyok (Sobaeksu), Ri Chol Myong (Pyongyang City), Pak Nam Chol (April 25), An Yong Hak (Omiya Ardija), Kim Kyong Il (Rimyongsu), Kim Yong Jun (Pyongyang City)

Forwards: Hong Yong Jo (FC Rostov), An Chol Hyok (Rimyongsu), Jong Tae Se (Kawasaki Frontale), Choe Kum Chol (April 25), Kim Kum Il (April 25)