North Korea’s Paris Olympics challenge, what if the scenario of an expedition to South Korea becomes a reality? Giving up again?

If there was one of the big variables given to the Korean soccer world in the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup, it was the confrontation with North Korea. He went on an expedition to Pyongyang under all sorts of adverse conditions, but crippled when North Korea refused to go on an expedition to Seoul. So what about the Asian qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympics? If they meet in the 2024 AFC Qatar U-23 Asian Cup regional qualifiers, will North Korea come to South Korea?

On the 22nd, AFC announced on its website the draw for the regional qualifiers for the 2024 AFC Qatar U-23 Asian Cup, where tickets to the Paris Olympics were held. The group drawing ceremony will be held on the 25th at 5pm at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In the Asian Cup regional qualifiers, a total of 43 national teams affiliated with the AFC will participate, and they will be divided into 11 groups to determine the ticket to the Asian Cup finals in which 16 teams will participate. South Korea is one of 11 host countries in the regional qualifiers. In other words, the Korean national U-23 soccer team led by head coach Hwang Seon-hong will play the regional qualifiers as the home team.

However, among the 43 teams that expressed their intention to participate in the regional qualifiers, there is a team that is attracting attention. That’s North Korea. According to the explanation of an AFC official, regarding the Asian Cup regional qualifier draw, separate assignments for South Korea and North Korea are not yet considered.

In the case of UEFA, before the group draw, Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are in serious conflict for political and diplomatic reasons, are applying special rules to prevent them from being assigned to the same group, but AFC has not yet made this calculation. Therefore, it seems impossible to rule out the possibility that Hwang Sun-Hong-Ho will play against North Korea in the regional qualifiers.

As the regional qualifiers will be held in South Korea, if North Korea joins the South Korean group, they will have to visit South Korea to play. The problem is that inter-Korean relations are currently very strained.

North Korea has already suffered lameness by refusing to visit South Korea. As mentioned earlier, it was during the second qualifying round for the World Cup in Qatar. At that time, South Korea had visited North Korea with a large number of key players such as Son Heung-min. The match had to be played in a bloody atmosphere without spectators. Regarding this game that came back after a goalless draw, Son Heung-min said, “I’m glad I came back without getting hurt.”

And North Korea decided not to participate in all games, including the scheduled expedition to South Korea. North Korea, which recklessly left the World Cup qualifiers, was disqualified from participating in the 2026 FIFA World Cup United Asia qualifiers for this reason. 

North Korea’s abandonment of the South Korean expedition was not limited to the Qatar World Cup Asian qualifiers. When the 2019 EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) E-1 Women’s Football Championship was held in Busan, South Korea, the North Korean women’s national football team, which was a strong candidate for the championship, gave up without hesitation. In recent years, North Korean soccer has been extremely reluctant to step on South Korean soil.

However, recently, North Korea has been greedy to participate in the Paris Olympics and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Although he has been kicked out of the World Cup for a while, there is no problem with participating in this tournament. Because of this decision, the possibility of visiting Korea is resurfacing. Although it is a story of extremely small possibility in terms of the probability of the regional qualifier draw, which will be divided into 11 groups.메이저놀이터

In a recent interview with reporters at the Paju NFC, coach Hwang Seon-hong expressed considerable pressure about meeting North Korea in the Asian Games finals in Hangzhou. As well as political and diplomatic issues, it was because of North Korea’s rough game manners that bleeding was inevitable when they met. However, North Korea could be a stumbling block on the way to the Paris Olympics. Another headache for Hwang.

It would be a headache for North Korea to meet South Korea as well. This is because we cannot rule out the possibility of considering giving up participating in the preliminaries again if it belongs to the Korean group, as if it were another country. If North Korea, which has been kicked out of the World Cup for a while, gives up even the Olympics, it will not be an easy decision for them to make, given that there will be no international stage on which they can stand. Will South Korea and North Korea meet in the Asian Cup regional qualifiers to be held in South Korea? If that scenario comes true, will North Korea really go on an expedition to South Korea?

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