South Korea and North Korea: A Stalemate, but Soccer or Politics?

It’s been a long long time since I’ve seen a live football match (real football, as in you use your feet and only the goalie can use hands sort of football). The last time was when I saw my hometown Hamilton Steelers play against the Toronto Blizzard (waaaaaaay before the time of the present Toronto FC!!) in the Canadian Soccer League back when I was a kid. Let me put it this way, the CSL ceased operations in 1992.

And Jen’s never seen one either. So, when we were asked if we wanted to see a football match here, we were pretty excited. This wasn’t just any football match though. This was a World Cup Qualifier match between South Korea and North Korea!

Rachel and Jess duking it out pre-game.

Hey Trevor, you can get a better shot when you
take the lens cap off!

상암 (Sangam) Stadium – it was a pretty full house.

I had forgotten how much energy is in the crowd at live sports and getting to watch a match of some high calibre teams is a real treat. South Korea was the favoured team, not only because of the home turf advantage, but because they do have a superior squad. After all, in the 2002 World Cup, South Korea did make it to the semi-finals. The play was dominated by the South, having the majority of the possession, but there were good opportunities for both teams. In the end it, the match was a scoreless tie.

South Korea with a set piece.  It was shot right
into the wall.

The game itself was very entertaining, though some of the best intrigue unfolded after the game. Our good friend Trevor, unbeknownst to me, is our local consipiracy theorist. Now, I’m not fully convinced that the game was thrown, but I definitely understand the reasoning why it might have been. In a land where “saving face” is certainly an important part of the culture, ending the game in a tie allowed both teams to emerge without the shame of a loss, especially when, politically, relations are not the best between the two nations. Check out Trevor’s post for more details.

None of us will really know for sure what happened, but it was still a really good match to watch.

Getting into the spirit with matching jerseys!

Sara, Jen, Becker, Rachel, Trevor, and Brent.
(One of them is trying to pretend to not know the others…)

We’re something fierce!

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~ by dawseng on July 6, 2008.

2 Responses to “South Korea and North Korea: A Stalemate, but Soccer or Politics?”

  1. thanks a lot for this post!
    borders have all to collapse!!!so it’s easier for everybody to share similarities!
    all best to you!

  2. That lens cap gets me every time.

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