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N. Korea to host S. Korea in World Cup qualifier as scheduled

An upcoming World Cup qualifier between South Korea and North Korea will take place in Pyongyang on time, the national football governing body here confirmed Tuesday.

The Korea Football Association said Tuesday it has been informed by the Asian Football Confederation that North Korea will host South Korea on Oct. 15, as scheduled, for their Group H match in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to the KFA, an AFC official and a vice president of the North Korean football federation met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the details of the match. North Korea also told the AFC that it will treat South Korea the same way it will all the other Group H opponents.


With no direct contact with its North Korean counterpart, the KFA has been relying on the AFC as an intermediary for communication in the lead-up to the World Cup qualifier.

The announcement on Tuesday removes the cloud of uncertainty that had been hanging over the match. North Korea had not responded to South Korea's repeated inquiries about traveling arrangements and other administrative matters. It led to speculation that the match could be moved to a third country, for which there is precedent.

In 2008, with much tension on the peninsula, North Korea refused to host South Korea in Pyongyang for matches in the penultimate and final rounds of the 2010 World Cup qualification.

They squared off in Shanghai twice instead.

The KFA said head coach Paulo Bento will announce his October roster on Sept. 30. The plan is to arrive in Pyongyang as close to the match day as possible.

There are eight groups of five in the second round this year.

The eight group winners, plus four-best runners-up, will reach the next round.

North Korea have won their first two matches so far, beating Lebanon 2-0 on Sept. 5 in Pyongyang and Sri Lanka 1-0 on Sept. 10 in Colombo. South Korea have played one match in the group and defeated Turkmenistan 2-0 on Sept. 10 in Ashgabat.

South Korea are trying to qualify for their 10th consecutive World Cup. North Korea have played in two World Cups, most recently in 2010. (Yonhap)

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