North Korea Allows First Live Soccer Broadcast

Players can expect harsh welcome home after 7-0 thrashing by Portugal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2010 5:29 AM CDT
North Korea's Jong Tae Se, left, sits on the pitch as Portugal's Tiago, right, and Portugal's Pedro Mendes, second from right, celebrate.   (AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
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(Newser) – North Koreans, for the first and possibly only time, watched their nation's soccer team play on foreign soil yesterday live on TV. Censors, fearing the appearance of anti-government protesters at matches, usually slap lengthy delays on such broadcasts—17 hours in the case of North Korea's game against Brazil. No protesters appeared at yesterday's game against Portugal, although the North Korean side suffered a 7-0 hammering, the Guardian reports.

"I think because they played so well against Brazil in the last game, no one in North Korea would have imagined that they'd lose so big this time," a North Korean defector living in Seoul tells the BBC, predicting that the team will be treated harshly when they return home. "The result will be blamed on their weak minds," he says. "I'm sure the players will have to go though extreme re-education and self-criticism."

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