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North Korea, England, Brazil, Torture and the World Cup

By Dark Politricks

If you didn’t catch it today, the World Cup match between North Korea and Portugal was an onslaught that ended in a 7-0 drubbing for North Korea.

In what was believed to be a first for North Korea, the match was streamed live to the impoverished millions back home however if the Dear Leader Kim Il Jong was watching I doubt he would have been too impressed with the result.

In that regards I am guessing that the North Korean national team probably isn’t in too much of a hurry to get back home as with most despotic nations sport is seen as more than just a game and history is littered with incidences of national teams being used for propaganda purposes.

Therefore I just hope that no harm comes to the players for bringing shame on their nation in the same way as the Iraqi national football team used to get tortured when they lost. During the reign of Saddam Hussein his sadistic eldest son Uday ran the Iraq National Olympic Committee and regularly had sportsmen and athletes tortured and murdered for under performing.

After Iraq’s 4-1 defeat to Japan in an Asian cup match in the 90’s three of the players were named as the culprits behind the defeat and were imprisoned and tortured and after their failure to reach the World Cup in 94 the whole team was forced to kick a concrete football around as punishment. Maybe Uday thought that having two feet full of broken toes helped you curl the ball better of something but his well known motivational techniques didn’t stop there and included the following ways to incentivize his players:

  • Beating them with Iron Bars
  • Caning the soles of their feet.
  • Dragging them along pavements on their backs and then dunking them in sewage to infect the wounds.
  • Urinating on their bowed shaven heads.

With such great ways to encourage the best out of his players it’s a wonder Iraq didn’t win all the world cups during the 90’s isn’t it?

Now there is nothing to suggest the North Korean players can expect similar treatment when they get back home and I sincerely hope not but if they did we would never know anyway would we?

To be honest I was pretty shocked when I saw North Korea had made it to the World Cup in the first place considering only a couple of their players actually play outside the country in competitive leagues. I cannot imagine the North Korean Premiership is a league brimming with foreign exports, multi million pound sponsorship deals, huge wage packets and weekly tabloid exploits of players misdeeds but then maybe that’s a good thing.

When I look at how our national team has performed this week I cannot claim that Capitalism offers a far superior economic framework as apposed to Communism for getting the best out of your footballers. Our team played the worst football I can ever recall during their 0-0 draw with Algeria on Friday night. Our supposed top stars, players such as Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard were a mess and their basic ball skills were such a let down I have seen Cub Scouts trap the ball and pass better.

Maybe with their £150,000 weekly wage packets, Ferrari’s, model girlfriends and expensive tastes they just don’t have the killer instinct anymore. I don’t doubt that they all want to win the World Cup as despite all their fancy trappings it’s the one thing they cannot just open a wallet and buy. Despite not winning any major football tournament for a very long time there just doesn’t seem to be the drive or inner desire to play their best that should be clear to see within every member of our national team. They have a rare opportunity that every school boy dreams of to perform on the biggest footballing stage in the world and yet they seem to treat the game as a chore to endure rather than a chance to shine.

I am guessing that the majority of the North Korean team would trade places with our “stars” in an instant. I cannot imagine that playing and living in a country that is basically on the brink of starvation where the national dish is literally grass is a pleasurable experience. Maybe what food is actually available is kept away from the masses and divided up between the Generals and the sportsmen and the chance of getting fed a proper meal is what drives these players instead of money. When your hungry having a new Rolex or driving the latest Bugatti doesn’t seem as important.

It would be interesting to know how they are treated back home and they shouldn’t feel any shame in today’s loss especially seeing that they almost managed to etch out a draw with Brazil in their previous game. If there is any country that constantly over performs every 4 years it’s Brazil.

They are surely the team that all other footballing nations look to in awe and should really be studying to see how they keep managing to succeed decade after decade on the world stage. Not particular a rich nation many of their famous players grow up in shanty towns before being spotted and end up playing for the big teams in South America or Europe.

Every Brazilian side from the keeper to striker seems to be blessed with natural skill and an inner desire to not only play well and win but to perform and enjoy themselves. To watch their game against the Ivory Coast the other night was a joy to behold, the way they pass the ball so naturally is something that surely cannot be taught and if it can we must be asking ourselves why can we not teach our own players the same skills.

The most important thing about the Brazilian team is that they always seem to enjoy their football and it’s no wonder they do. No defensive tactics or long ball actions. None of our tactic of putting a big lump up front who lacks any skill but is just there to hold the ball or knock on a header in set plays. No Brazilians play beautiful football and enjoy it because they are free to express themselves on the pitch.

No other team has had the honour of having their footballing prowess labelled as art and it seems that to Brazil their football is more than just a sport.  In my opinion their success has sprung all from their basic premise that the most important tactic is to enjoy the game and play each match as if it’s their last ever chance of kicking a ball. When you look at the fear in the North Koreans eyes or the frustration and anger in Rooney’s post match comments it’s clear to see why Brazil enjoys such success.

I don’t know how we could replicate this mindset in our own team but until we learn to enjoy our football we will continue to play like rabbits caught in headlights.

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  1. Tweets that mention North Korea, England, Brazil, Torture and the World Cup | Dark Politricks -- linked to this post on June 22, 2010

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