Team profile: North Korea takes an in depth look at coach Kim Kwang Min's North Korean side that will compete at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
North Korea reached the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)


Coach: Kim Kwang Min carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. He is used to the pressure having led the North Koreans to the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Kim places an emphasis on discipline and organization which carried the team to the Asian Cup title in 2008. He is optimistic heading to Germany: "We have a bright future. Our players can develop more from the experience we have gained at the Asian Cup."

Goalkeepers: Hong Myong-Hui, Kim Chol-Ok, Ri Jin-Sim   

Defenders: Jon Hong-Yon, Ho Un-Byol, Song Jong-Sun, Paek Sol-Hui, Yu Jong-Hui, Jong Pok-Sim, Ri Un- 

Midfielders: Kim Myong-Gum, Kim Su-Gyong, Jo Yun-Mi, Ri Ye-Gyong, Jon Myong-Hwa, Kim Un-Ju, Kim Chung-Sim              

Forwards: Yun Hyon-Hi, Ra Un-Sim, Choe Mi-Gyong, Kwon Song-Hwa


  • June 28 — vs. United States in Dresden
  • July 2 — vs. Sweden  in Augsburg
  • July 6 — vs. Colombia in Bochum


Strengths: Discipline, organization, technical ability and a strong work ethic are the hallmarks of this North Korean side… The Asians have also show great character in the past in coming from behind in games, and grinding out results against tough opponents…  North Korea is well-organized at the back, rarely losing its shape in defence.

Weaknesses: The North Koreans lack scoring punch up front, a fact underlined by their meagre total of eight goals scored in the World Cup qualifiers… The Asians could not have asked for a tougher start to their World Cup campaign, with games against the United States and Sweden in their first two matches… This is a pretty young and inexperienced team at senior level with few veterans, especially with the retirement of striker Ri Kum Suk.

Player to watch: Jo Yun Mi — A skilful playmaker, Jo Yun Mi possesses sublime skills on the ball, and is noted for her accurate passes and for creating dangerous scoring opportunities for her teammates.

Prospects in Germany: When it comes to work ethic and attitude, the North Koreans have few peers. They are a team prepared to grind it out if necessary as they proved more than once in qualifying. They are quick, extremely fit and improving all the time from a technical standpoint. For the fourth straight World Cup they meet the U.S. in the group stages. A positive result in the opener could lead to a Group of Death battle with the Americans and Sweden. Don't discount them from another quarter-final appearance.

  • Soccer Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Current FIFA world ranking: 8
  • Team nickname: Chollima
  • Team colours: red jerseys/red shorts


2011 qualification route: The North Koreans qualified for their fourth World Cup but lost their Asian crown in the process. Their dreams of glory in China were dashed in the 2010 AFC Asian Cup Final where they lost to Australia on penalties after extra time. Along the way, the Koreans lost to Japan but rebounded to beat China in the semifinals.

  • Qualification record: 3 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie
  • Goals for: 8 
  • Goals against: 3
  • Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Jo Yun Mi (3)


  • May 20, 2010 — North Korea 3, Thailand 0
  • May 22, 2010 — North Korea 2, Myanmar 0
  • May 24, 2010 — Japan 2, North Korea 1
  • May 27, 2010 — North Korea 1, China 0
  • May 30, 2010 — Australia 1**, North Korea 1 (won 5-4 in penalty shootout)


North Korea failed to advance past the group stage in its first two World Cup appearances. They started on a positive note at the 2003 World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Nigeria, followed by 1-0 and 3-0 losses to Sweden and the United States, respectively.

The Asian outfit fared much better in 2007 playing against the same teams, this time finishing second in the group and moving on to the quarter-finals, where they lost to Germany.

  • Hosted the Women's World Cup: Never
  • Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 3
  • All-time record: 3 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie
  • Goals for: 12 
  • Goals against: 17
  • All-time top scorer: Jin Ryol Hui (3)


  • 1991 — Did not qualify
  • 1995 — Did not qualify
  • 1999 — First round
  • 2003 — First round
  • 2007 — Quarter-finals