The other day I watched North Korea play Germany in the semifinals of the just concluded Under-17 Women’s football in Azerbaijan.
Two goals by Kim So-Hyang put the tie past the Germans even though they pulled back one later. But the general play surprised me, as they were technically quite good. Never did the game have any school ground histrionics but was filled with good passing, effective build up, and all round quality. The tackling and the physicality exhibited were also top notch, and I thought it was a good exhibition of what women’s football has to offer.
If the North Koreans had managed to win the tournament, Asia would have got another massive boost. But eventually the North Koreans lost in the final to a very good French side in penalties after the score was tied at one apiece. The trend of the rising power of Asian youth in football is a good sign but poses many questions as to why there is a stark gap in between the quality of the teams when they reach the senior level.
Though there are many factors that contribute to this, which would be questioned in future posts, for now let us celebrate the feat of the North Korean teens and be elated that the base pool of talent is among the best and wonder what we can do in the future so that their growth is not stifled.