North Korea struggle in Asian Cup opener

North Korea came into the Asian Cup on poor form having lost out to Hong Kong in the EAFF Cup. They then faced a tough match to begin in Group E against one of Asia’s better sides Saudi Arabia. It was proved to be as tough as expected too with the North Koreans lost 4-0.

North Korea overrun 

North Korea set up their team on Tuesday at the Asian Cup to not concede. This, however, did not work for Kim Yong-Jun men as Saudi Arabia run out 4-0 winners. Hattan Babhir and Mohammed Al Fatil scored two first-half goals for the Saudi's. Things got worse for North Korea too before half time when Italian based player Han Kwang-Song was sent off for two first-half bookings.

Previous to this match the North Korean boss knew he had to get his players to play at full potential to stand a chance. This was seen with Kim Yong-Jun saying pre-match “Of course I am expecting us to have a better result than in our tournament history and I have told the players that every player has to be together and play with team spirit for all 90 minutes, everyone has to do their job.”

North Korea did not play to their best however and at no point did they get into the match. This was seen with the side having only 27% possession over the 90 minutes. The issue is they sat back too deep and looked scared to attack. It's got to be said if they want to get out the group they will have to attack in their final two matches. They will though have to do without their best player Han Kwang-Song for one match after his red card.

North Korea still has a chance 

Despite the big defeat, North Korea can still qualify from Group E and it should be remembered they did lose to a country who has won the Asian Cup three times. Saudi Arabia last won the Asian Cup when it was last in the UAE before in 1996. 

There's still a chance then North Korea can do their best at an Asian Cup since their fourth-place finishes in 1980 in Kuwait. Since then North Korea has exited the Asian Cup at the group stage in every tournament they've qualified for. 

To do better North Korea will have to improve massively though when they face Qatar on Sunday. They will need to do without their starman but not all hope is lost just yet. 

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