Park Ji-sung says NKorea may shock at World Cup

Park Ji-sung says NKorea may shock at World Cup

Published Jun. 11, 2010 2:57 p.m. ET

South Korea star midfielder Park Ji-sung thinks North Korea could surprise some teams at the World Cup.

North Korea may be one of the longshots, but Manchester United's Park said the team has the advantage of adding a little mystery to the tournament.

``Since North Korea has players that are not well known, that could be a difficult factor'' for other teams, Park said.

``For me personally, it will be interesting to look at the three matches.''


North Korea has a challenging draw. It opens Tuesday against Brazil in Johannesburg, then plays Ivory Coast and Portugal.

North Korea's only previous appearance was 1966 when it made a surprising run to the quarterfinals, even taking a 3-0 lead in that game against Portugal before finally falling.

South Korea opens against Greece on Saturday.

It is the first time that the two Koreas are playing in the same World Cup, although this is the South's eighth trip to the tournament.

``North Korea is in a very difficult group as we know,'' Park said. ``It's been a long time since North Korea managed to join the World Cup, and I am very glad that North and South Korea are here.''

Tensions between the two countries have been heightened recently due to the sinking of a South Korea warship. The South blamed the North and is seeking United Nations punishment of the reclusive communist state.

That disagreement has spilled over into a dispute over television feeds from the World Cup. The South normally provides a free feed to its northern neighbor, but now is demanding a fee.

Park was asked whether South Korea's stance on the television feeds was fair.

``I don't think that is something that falls under my jurisdiction,'' Park said, smiling. ``So I cannot comment.''