One of the big variables given to the South Korean soccer community, which participated in the Asian qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup, was the match against North Korea. He went on an expedition to Pyongyang under various unfavorable conditions, but North Korea refused to go on an expedition to Seoul, causing a setback. So what about the Asian qualifying round for the 2024 Paris Olympics? If we meet in the regional preliminary round of the 2024 AFC Qatar U-23 Asian Cup, will North Korea come to South Korea on an expedition?메이저놀이터
AFC announced the draw for the regional preliminary round of the 2024 AFC Qatar U-23 Asian Cup, where tickets to the Paris Olympics are at stake, on its website on the 22nd. The draw ceremony will be held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at 5 p.m. on the 25th.
A total of 43 association teams affiliated with the AFC will participate in the Asian Cup regional qualifying round, and will be divided into 11 groups to decide on tickets to the Asian Cup finals, where 16 teams will participate. South Korea is included in one of the 11 regional qualifying countries. In other words, the South Korean U-23 national soccer team, led by head coach Hwang Sun-hong, will play regional qualifiers as a home team.
However, among the 43 teams that expressed their intention to participate in the regional preliminary round, there is a team that draws attention. It is North Korea. According to an AFC official, South Korea and North Korea have not yet considered the separation of regional qualifiers in connection with the draw for the Asian Cup regional qualifiers.
In the case of UEFA, special rules are applied to prevent Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are in serious conflict for political and diplomatic reasons, from being assigned to the same group before the draw, but AFC has not yet made such a calculation. Therefore, the possibility that Hwang Sun-hong will face North Korea in the regional preliminary round cannot be ruled out.
As the regional preliminary round will be held in South Korea, North Korea will have to visit South Korea to play if it joins the South Korean group. The problem is that inter-Korean relations are now very strained.
North Korea has already refused to visit South Korea, causing disruptions. As mentioned earlier, it was during the second qualifying round for the Qatar World Cup. At that time, South Korea went on an expedition to North Korea with a large number of key players such as Son Heung-min. The game had to be played without spectators and in a brutal atmosphere. Son Heung-min also said, “I’m glad I came back without getting hurt,” regarding the match that he returned without scoring a goal.
And North Korea has since decided not to play all the matches, including the scheduled expedition to South Korea. North Korea, which had left the World Cup qualifying round recklessly, was disqualified from participating in the 2026 FIFA World Cup United Asian qualifying round for this reason.
North Korea’s abandonment of the South Korean expedition was not only in the Asian qualifying round for the Qatar World Cup. When the 2019 EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) E-1 Women’s Football Championship was held in Busan, South Korea, the North Korean women’s national soccer team, which was a strong candidate, gave up its participation without hesitation. In recent years, North Korean football has been extremely reluctant to step on South Korean soil.
Recently, however, North Korea has been eager to participate in the Paris Olympics and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. He was expelled from the World Cup for a while, but there is no problem in participating in this tournament. Because of this decision, the possibility of an expedition to Korea is also emerging. It is a story of very little possibility due to the probability of the draw for the regional preliminary round, which will be divided into 11 groups.
In a recent interview with reporters at Paju NFC, coach Hwang Sun-hong expressed considerable burden on meeting with North Korea in the Hangzhou Asian Games finals. This is because of political and diplomatic issues, but due to North Korea’s harsh economic manners, they had a bloody battle that was inevitable if they met. However, North Korea could be an obstacle on the way to the Paris Olympics. It is another headache for Hwang.
North Korea will also have a headache to meet South Korea. This is because if he belongs to the Korean group, he cannot rule out the possibility of considering giving up on qualifying again. If North Korea, which has been kicked out of the World Cup for a while, gives up the Olympics, it will not be an easy decision to make in their situation, given that there will be no international stage to play. Will South Korea and North Korea meet in the Asian Cup regional preliminary round in South Korea? If the scenario is realized, will North Korea go on an expedition to South Korea?