Sports

When Brazil played in North Korea … sort of

A friendly match between Brazil and North Korea in Pyongyang is the source of much pride in DPRK, but the true story is even more spectacular

brazil north korea on the pitch
Photo: Author provided/Waldir Cipriani

From atop the Arch of Triumph, a monument of much pride for North Korea, one of the officials who guided me around my ten-day stay in the most closed-off country in the world directed my attention to the grand stadium directly in front, for two reasons:

“In this stadium, our Eternal President made his first speech after liberating the Korean people from Japanese imperialists. Oh, and it was also there that Brazil played against our national football team. You must have heard about that match. It was very good. I was there.”

It was September 2017. I had entered North...

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