England's first opponents Korea DPR looking to build on 2007 in Canada.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Samuel Philip Steinbock
England's first opponents in this year's World Cup are one of Asia's most accomplished sides and Korea DPR remain a largely enigmatic team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, having featured in the tournament only once. That was in Canada 2007, where they narrowly missed out on progressing past the group stage.
Drawing their first two games, they faced an Argentina side in the third match and despite putting up a valiant effort, they lost 1-0 thus ending their venture in North America.
Their qualifying campaign for Colombia 2011 started off badly, as they lost 2-0 to Uzbekistan. However, that loss seemed to wake the side up as they followed that defeat with back-to-back wins against five-time winners of the AFC U-19 Championships Iraq and Bahrain.
In the quarter-finals, they met the hosts China who they beat 2-0 to book their spot in Colombia 2011.
Team unity and a never-say-die attitude are trademarks of North Korean football at all levels, and this squad is no different.
However, star player Jong Il-Gwan is vital to their hopes of success and will need the help of his team-mates if Korea DPR are to progress past the group stage.