- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
How come the North Korean national team that managed to lose by only one goal to Brazil — a win, essentially — got beat down so brutally by Portugal? According to some sources,* Dear Leader himself may be to blame:
Quoting a source, RFA reported that after watching the match against powerhouse Brazil, in which North Korea recorded a respectable 1-2 loss with a tight defense strategy, Kim Jong-il said that although the team played the first half well, it lost because it only focused on defense in the second half. He then gave orders for the team’s defenders to be positioned forward and even specified where each defender should be standing in the field.
According to the source, Kim "gave orders twice" to a responsible official dispatched to South Africa during the game against Portugal on June 21. The orders were delivered to North Korea manager Kim Jong-hun and implemented in the game. Despite the widening gap in the score, the North Koreans team stuck to their hopeless strategy and lost 0-7.
Perhaps he should stick to golf.
*All the usual caveats about wacky North Korea stories based on defector reports.