Azkals set out to lick Pyongyang mystery
As if traveling to one of the most mysterious cities in the world isn’t enough, the Philippine Azkals will be up against a North Korea side which is off to a blazing start in World Cup Qualifying.
The Azkals are intrigued by the prospect of playing in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, but that’s nothing compared to the challenge confronting them on Thursday, when they face the home side that’s on top of Group H at Kim Il Sung Stadium.
North Korea is unbeaten in three games, demolishing top seed Uzbekistan, 4-2, at home before beating Bahrain, 1-0, in Manama. Yemen forfeited its match to North Korea, 0-3, for fielding an ineligible player.
The Azkals are third in the group with wins over Bahrain (2-1) and Yemen (2-0), before losing to Uzbekistan (1-5).
“Everyone is excited to go to North Korea but we’re a bit scared because it’s the first time, and not a lot of people have gone to North Korea,” said midfielder Manny Ott. “We expect a hard game.”
The Azkals began their 18-hour journey to Pyongyang last night via Bangkok, then to Beijing, where some of the Europe-based standouts and goalkeeping coach Pascal Zuberbühler will be linking up with the side.
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