South and North Korea may not be conversing much these days. But the two sides meet later this Tuesday afternoon for a men's football World Cup qualifier match in Pyeongyang.
It's the first inter-Korean home game for the North Korean men's team in nearly three decades.
But even before the opening kick at Pyeongyang's Kim Il Sung Stadium, the North is pitching a shutout against the South. No live broadcast. No cheer squad. No traveling news media.
Will this impact game results? What kind of a game do we expect? Joining me live in the studio is football columnist and Associate Editor tof K League United, Paul Neat.
Paul, welcome to the program.
South Korea's 25-member squad including top athletes who compete in the English Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga
Compared with the South's globe-trotting stars, most of the North Korean players are unknown outside of their domestic league.
What do we know about them? Who'll be on the roster? Who plays left, who plays right, who should our Lee Kang-In, Son Heung-min watch out for?
Now what about their strengths? Home turf advantage. Still, they train with each other day-to-day and could prove to be stronger than their rivals. Artificial turf. Would these factors work in their favor as opposed to the SK national team?
Drawing from North Korea's win over Lebanon and Sri Lanka and ROK’s win over Sri Lanka
what’s your strict assessment of each team’s football competence?
Han Kwang Song, who recently signed with Juventus’s under-23 team and who has been on the North Korean team’s roster for the World Cup qualifiers. Who do you expect him to be marked by among the players on the SK team?
SK team travels to Paulo Bento, South Korea’s head coach, told reporters in late September that he “tries to understand what feelings South Korean people have toward this match.” But, he added, “the important thing is to concentrate on the game and earn points. How many points must Bento’s team earn? What about the NK side?
ROK players are familiar with diehard Red Devil fans screaming in their support Daehanminguk at the top of their lungs. Now, no cheering squad, no traveling media, just 50-thousand fans from the opposition perhaps sitting in silence watching you play - how does that work for your mental health or mental preparation during the match?
Have you seen any previous cases like today’s near blind WC qualifier match? **references: The North Korean team hasn’t lost at Kim Il Sung Stadium since 2005, when it failed to qualify for the World Cup in a match against Iran and angry North Korean fans hurled bottles and cans at referees and the Iranian player
***references: If Kim Jong Un comes to see the match, the North Koreans will play do-or-die-soccer to win, as the triumph will be attributed to the leader’s glory.