[Writer's Choice] North Korea Intends to Host World Cup Qualifier Match Against South Korea

Jay Yim, Aug. 2, 2019, 5:12 p.m.

North Korea has expressed that it intends to host the World Cup qualifier match against South Korea in Pyongyang, the South's football governing body said.

According to the Korea Football Association, document was sent to the Asian Football Confederation by the North's football governing body, which said that it will host the match at the Kim-Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang at 5:30 p.m. on October 15.

Last month a draw for the AFC second round of qualifying matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was held, which put South and North Korea in Group H, along with Lebanon, Turkenistan and Sri Lanka. If things go well, the two Koreas, will meet in North Korea on October 15, 2019 and in the South on June 4, 2020.

There have been mixed feelings on whether or not Pyongyang would invite the South Korean athletes, as geopolitical tensions surrounding the peninsula have increased significantly in the past few months.

The North's agreement of the World Cup schedule marks the first time in nearly 30 years that the two Koreas have met in a football game in Pyongyang. In 1990, the South Korean national team visited the capital in a friendly match against the North. However, with the two meeting for a qualifier match, it will be the first inter-Korean showdown in the capital of North Korea.

The two were in the same group in back-to-back qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup and were scheduled to play each other twice in a home-and-away format. However, the North refused to hold two home games against South Korea, and agreed to play in Shanghai, a neutral venue.

"As North Korea decided to host the qualifier at home, the KFA will have talks with the unification ministry on visiting the North," a KFA official said.

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