North Korea shows live broadcast of its World Cup loss to Portugal

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

North Korea picked the wrong moment to allow its people to see a bit more of the outside world.

The authoritarian regime was so proud of its soccer team in the World Cup that it allowed an unprecedented live broadcast back home of the match against Portugal -- a rarity for the communist nation that normally exerts strict control over the media.

What ensued was a different sort of history: North Koreans, used to seeing only positive news about their reclusive country, watched as their soccer team received the worst drubbing so far in this year's tournament and was prevented from advancing to the next round.

As the 7-0 loss to Portugal concluded, the North Koreans quickly halted Monday's coverage. "The Portuguese won the game and now have four points," the Korean Central Broadcasting commentator said. "We are ending our live broadcast now."

It then cut to factory workers and engineers praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Dejected and dispirited, the North Korea team quickly left the stadium in Cape Town with heads bowed.

Star forward Jong Tae Se dropped to his knees as the game ended. He said he was upset they had made so many errors and apologized to his nation for failing to fulfill its World Cup hopes. The normally loquacious Jong later slipped out another entrance.

Portugal's Tiago, who scored two goals, wished the North Koreans well in their final game against Ivory Coast but said he wasn't sorry about the lopsided score, since getting lots of goals can help a team advance to the next round.

"It's just football," he said.

-- Associated Press

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