North Korea, due to political affiliation and a history filled with mostly football obscurity, is the great unknown of this summer's World Cup. When it was drawn to Group G, the tournament's resident 'Group of Death', few thought it would provide any sort of challenge for Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast when it wasn't busy beating up on each other.
But don't sell North Korea short quite so fast. The North Koreans have been impressing some in their pre-cup preparations, most notably fighting to a 2-2 draw against Euro 2004 champion Greece on May 25. The star of that game and the scorer of both goals, Jong Tae-se, is not short on confidence heading into this World Cup despite his home nation's realistic chances. Reports Reuters:
The Japan-based forward, dubbed the "People's Wayne Rooney" by Asian media after the England striker, predicted North Korea would shock Group G rivals Portugal and Ivory Coast and progress along with Brazil.
"I will keep my promise of scoring one goal per game," Jong, who scored both goals in his country's 2-2 draw with Greece in a recent warm-up game, told South Korea's Chosun Ilbo.
"In our group it will be Brazil and North Korea who will advance."
Training at night under heavy guard and behind barbed wire in the township of Tembisa, about 30 minutes from Johannesburg, however, North Korea insisted they were relishing the challenge.
And you thought Dunga was strict with his training access. I think the "Commie Wayne" or the "Out-to-lunch Rooney" fit just as well, because this guy seems to lack some concept of reality here. I do reserve some hope for his mental stability though, as he still does have Brazil, along with North Korea, advancing to the knock-out round. He hasn't lost all of his marbles just yet. Regardless, if anyone tries to get Commie Wayne during training they are getting impaled on a barbed-wire fence or shot down on spot. So at least we will get to see if this guy can back up some of his talk.
I think Jong could catch some of these giants looking past them and pop up with some goals and maybe even an upset. Plus, if he doesn't, he may become known as the "Exiled Rooney" if he doesn't appease the Dear Leader by following through on his goal-scoring promise.