ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE, all logic tells people they should NOT root for North Korea. Just like the Olympics, the World Cup is a global event of national pride, and it only makes sense to support your home team (assuming your country is represented). Who would want to cheer for one of the countries tied to the Axis of Evil anyway?
Surprisingly, though, this article provides some compelling arguments for supporting the North Korean team. First and foremost, it points out that they’re the underdogs. The team is ranked 105th by FIFA, and they’ve been placed in the “group of death” with the Ivory Coast, Portugal and Brazil. Let’s face it: These guys barely have a wink of a chance. Plus, they’re from a nation that basically tops everyone’s shit list.
Like I said, though, I love to support the team that has basically no hope of winning. That alone is enough to convince me to cheer for North Korea as long as they continue playing.
According to the article, the North Korean team really isn’t that bad on the field, as long as they can hold their own against other tough teams. It’s a bummer, though, that their own countrymen aren’t being allowed to watch the game in North Korea. Who else will cheer for them if we don’t?
I also appreciated the argument that being participants in a global event like the World Cup could make an itty-bitty difference in someone’s eyes. Intercultural interaction is rarely a bad thing, and it has the potential to provide a foundation for open dialogue. It’s also important to keep in mind that the players on North Korea’s World Cup team don’t represent the government of the country (though Kim Jong-il supposedly provides tactical advice during matches by a phone invisible to the naked eye).
It’s so easy to talk about politics when we discuss international sports, but the guys on North Korea’s team are just soccer players like everyone else in the competition. They work as a team on field strategy and tactics. I imagine they think about their plays as they lay awake in bed at night. And they do it all for the love of the game. That alone should be reason enough to give them the support they deserve.
Will you be cheering for North Korea’s team when they play?