N Korea qualifies for Women's World Cup

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:36 IST

North Korea qualified for the 2007 women's soccer World Cup with a 3-2 win over Japan in Sunday's third place match at the Asian Cup.

N Korea qualifies for Women's World Cup

Adelaide, Australia:

North Korea qualified for the 2007 women's soccer World Cup with a 3-2 win over Japan in Sunday's third place match at the Asian Cup despite missing three players banned for violent conduct following a semifinal loss to China. Before the Japan match, North Korea had demanded a rematch with China, blaming its 1-0 loss on unfair refereeing. TV images showed North Korean players arguing with a referee after a potential equaliser against the Chinese was disallowed in injury time for an offside infringement. North Koreans threw bottles and other objects at the officials, and goalkeeper Han Hye Yong kicked the Italian referee, Ann de Toni, from behind. Han, along with two other players, were suspended from the third-place match and faced further sanctions when the Asian Football Confederation disciplinary committee next meets. North Korean officials sent a protest letter to the AFC, saying its loss to China resulted from "the deliberate and undisguised partial refereeing", the North's state media reported late on Saturday. "All facts prove that the Italian referee and the Australian linesman, prompted by a vicious aim to make the (North) Korean team fail at any cost, resorted to premeditated and deliberate partial refereeing," said the letter carried by the Korean Central News Agency. The top two teams from this Asian Cup secure places at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China. With China getting an automatic place as host, that left a spot for the third place team in this qualifying tournament. Australia, due to play China in the final later on Sunday, already had secured a World Cup spot by beating Japan in the semis. Despite Sunday's win, North Korea coach Kim Kwang Min said his players remained disappointed with the loss to China because they wanted to claim the Asian Cup title for the third consecutive time. (AP)

Topics : Football
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