Son set for ‘Korean Derby’ in Pyongyang

October 14, 2019
South Korea’s Son Heung-min (centre) kicks the ball past Sri Lanka’s Mohamed Aman (right) , during their Asian zone Group H qualifying  match for the 2022 World Cup at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, South Korea, on October 10.
South Korea’s Son Heung-min (centre) kicks the ball past Sri Lanka’s Mohamed Aman (right) , during their Asian zone Group H qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, South Korea, on October 10.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP):

Son Heung-min may be the biggest football name in South Korea and across Asia but the Tottenham forward's fame struggles to penetrate North Korea. As the two neighbors meet in a 2022 World Cup qualifier tomorrow, the only attention the English Premier League star can expect in Pyongyang is from the home team's defenders.

The "Korean Derby" is the first Pyongyang meeting between North Korea and South Korea since a friendly game in 1990. It is also the first-ever competitive fixture north of the 38th parallel between the two countries that remain in a technical state of war.

The EPL is the most popular international league in South Korea, but little watched in internationally isolated North Korea.

"I don't think the (North Korean) fans know much about Son Heung-min but the players know him well," An Yong Hak, a former North Korea international, told The Associated Press. "Fans in Pyongyang are looking forward to the game. It is not just the opponent, but this is an important World Cup qualifier and if we win it will be a great result."

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