World Cup 2010: North Korea

World Cup 2010: NORTH KOREA

FIFA ranking: 105

Overall World Cup record: 1-2-1

Coach: Kim Jong-Hun

Best performance: Quarterfinals, 1966

Overview: Making their first appearance in the World Cup finals in 44 years, the North Koreans face long odds in South Africa, where they are included with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast in the so-called “group of death” in the first round. Although the North Koreans are big and fast, they are painfully short on international experience, fielding a roster made up almost entirely of players from domestic leagues. Because North Korea prefers a conservative, defensive approach, keeper Ri Myong-Guk will be key to the team’s performance.

-- Kevin Baxter