The world’s 17th-ranked Japanese national soccer team did not hide its desire to play two A matches in neutral areas if possible against 116th-ranked North Korea.
The Japan Football Association held a press conference on Dec. 18 to announce the schedule for Group B of the second Asian qualifying round for the 23rd FIFA North Korea-China-U.S. World Cup in 2026. The third and fourth group matches against North Korea will take place on March 21 and 26, 2024.
However, Masakuni Yamamoto (65), director of the national team of the Japan Football Association, said, “It has yet to be decided where and where we will play the World Cup qualifying match against North Korea. We are also adjusting the schedule including a home game.”
The International Football Federation awarded Japan the right to host the third match of Group B in the second Asian qualifying round for the 2026 North Korea-China-US World Cup, and North Korea the right to host the fourth match. However, the Japan Football Association claimed that “we can’t decide” based on the “specificity of the opponent country.”랭크카지노
Japan’s under-22 national team, led by coach Oiwa Ko (51), won the men’s soccer quarterfinal 2-1 against North Korea at the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games in China on October 1, 2023, but suffered greatly from rough plays such as sliding back tackle.
North Korea did not stop there, but caused a stir by attempting to assault a Japanese U-22 official delivering drinks or protesting the referee’s decision, which was so extreme that the on-site security guard restrained it.
The Japan Football Association said, “We are also coordinating with the Japanese government,” adding that the two second Asian qualifiers for the North Korea-China World Cup should be dealt with in a diplomatic level higher than sports.
North Korea lost 0-1 in Group B of the second Asian qualifying round for the 23rd North Korea-China-U.S. World Cup 2026 against world No. 91 Syria, but beat 162nd-ranked Myanmar 6-1 in the second round. The match against Syria was a neutral match (Saudi Arabia), and the match against Myanmar was an away game.
The last time North Korea will host an A match was on October 15, 2019, at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang. At that time, the third match of Group H, the 22nd FIFA Qatar World Cup Asia 2nd qualifying round against South Korea, ended 0-0.
Naturally, attention is being paid not only to the Asian soccer community, but also to international sports and even global as to whether North Korea will play against Japan in the 2026 North Korea-China World Cup qualifying round at home.
North Korea received six yellow cards only in the quarterfinals against Japan at the Hangzhou Asian Games. The home game of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying round also drove South Korea so violently that it continued to scream throughout the game.