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North Korea rips England 3-0 in World Cup tune-up, fails to show in Dresden
I was having some doubts about the youthful team that North Korea decided to bring to Germany for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. In fact, the average age of the team (20.11 years old) makes the North Koreans the youngest squad in the competition. However, in a closed door scrimmage against England, North Korea came away with a shocking 3-0 result on June 21.
North Korea was supposed to attend a reception held by the city council of Dresden on June 23 but canceled their appearance. The North Korean delegation gave no reason for the cancelation. North Korea and the United States were going to sign the Dresden visitor's book at the event. North Korea's opening group stage match against the United States is scheduled for June 28.
One of the strengths of the North Koreans is their opponent's unfamiliarity with their squad. Their most experienced call up for this World Cup, midfielder Jo Yun Mi has only 30 caps. American forward Abby Wambach said "This thing about North Korea is they like it when things stay mysterious. In 2007, they suddenly came out and gave us a tough match." North Korea tied the United States 2-2 in the first group stage match in the 2007 World Cup and briefly had a 2-1 lead while Wambach was injured. North Korea has been holding closed practice sessions in Germany as well.
North Korea will be in Group C for the 2011 World Cup alongside Colombia, Sweden and the United States. England is playing in Group B against Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.
North Korea will be trying to build on their success in the 2007 World Cup when they broke into the quarterfinals for the first time. Germany defeated them 3-0 in that match. If any of the teams in Group C, the United States included, weren't worried about the caliber of the team that North Korea has, they should lose all doubts about it after the England result.
According to English manager Hope Powell, England has their most talented roster to date in competition in Germany. Yet, they were handled easily by North Korea. Perhaps the 3-0 scoreline means some of my optimism about the English side should be tempered as well.
As an American soccer fan, I remember the 2007 match against North Korea quite well and don't want to see another draw because the USA underestimates the opponent.
More from Patrick Johnston:
"North Koreans prepare for US behind closed doors", Google News
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