North Korea’s men’s soccer team was eliminated by Japan in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
North Korea lost 1-2 to Japan in the men’s soccer quarterfinals held at the Xiaoshan Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China on the 1st (Korean time).
North Korea aimed to advance to the semifinals of the Asian Games for the first time in nine years since winning a silver medal at the 2014 Incheon Games. Following three consecutive wins in the group stage, they defeated Bahrain 2-0 in the round of 16. They were evenly matched against Japan in the quarterfinals, but their defensive concentration collapsed in the second half of the game.\
North Korea, which was tied 0-0 in the first half, allowed Japan’s Kotaro Uchino to score the first goal in the 5th minute of the second half. Afterwards, in the 29th minute of the second half, Kim Kook-beom scored to balance the game. However, in the 35th minute of the second half, they conceded the winning goal from a penalty kick to Japan’s Yuta Matsumura and eventually bowed out.
Japan will face Hong Kong, who defeated Iran 1-0 in the quarterfinals, in the semifinals. Hong Kong caused the surprise of catching the ‘big fish’ of Iran with Poon Pui Hin’s winning goal in the 12th minute of the second half. Another semifinal match will be between Korea and Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, after the game, North Korean players stormed the referee and protested harshly, pushing him with their bodies and hands, creating an unpleasant atmosphere. They expressed dissatisfaction with the referee’s penalty kick decision that led to Japan’s winning goal.
With the score tied at 1-1, when the Japanese striker caught the ball, the North Korean goalkeeper threw his body to block it, and a collision occurred at this time. The referee declared a penalty kick, saying there was a foul by North Korea during the defense.\
The North Korean athletes protested vehemently, but it was not accepted. In the end, Japan scored a스포츠토토 penalty kick, leading to Japan’s victory.
The North Korean players who lost by this goal could not control their anger after the game and ran to the referee. If the North Korean coaches had not intervened, an even bigger disaster could have occurred.
Even though it happened after the game ended, the fact that the player pushed and threatened the referee during an official game could be problematic. There is a possibility that disciplinary action from the Federation of International Football Associations ( FIFA ) or the Olympic Council of Asia ( OCA ) will follow in the future.
North Korean coach Shin Yong-nam said in a press conference after the game, “It is true that two or three players were a little excited by the incorrect (referee’s) declaration,” and “I think it is an insult to soccer if the referees are not fair,” and rather defended the players.