Three Japanese-born players qualified to play for North Korea at the World Cup [EPA]

Absent from the World Cup since 1966, when they reached the last eight, North Korea's footballers have only just begun to receive international exposure.

Ranked 105th after their long absence from the top, they should be a surprise package in South Africa.

Striker Jong Tae-Se admitted in March that the players were weak technically and tactically – but that their mental strength was unrivalled.

Led by coach Kim Jong-Hun, they demonstrated that strength in holding out for the point they needed to qualify automatically against World Cup regulars Saudi Arabia last year.

Goalkeepers:

Ri Myong-Guk (Pyongyang City), Kim Myong-Gil (Amrokgang), Kim Myon-Won (Amrokgang).

Group G fixtures

Tuesday June 15

 
Cote d'Ivoire v Portugal 
 Brazil v North Korea 

Sunday June 20

 
Brazil v Cote d'Ivoire 

Monday June 21

 
Portugal v North Korea 

Friday June 25

 
Portugal v Brazil 
 North Korea v Cote d'Ivoire

Defenders:

Cha Jong-Hyok (Amrokgang), Nam Song-Chol (April 25), Pak Chol-Jin (Amrokgang), Pak Nam-Chol (Amrokgang), Ri Jun-Il (Sobaeksu), Ri Kwang-Chon (April 25), Ri Kwang-Hyok (Kyonggongop).

Midfielders:

Ahn Young-Hak (Omiya Ardija), Ji Yun-Nam (April 25), Kim Kyong-Il (Rimyongsu), Kim Yong-Jun (Chengdu), Mun In-Guk (April 25), Pak Nam-Chol (April 25), Pak Sung-Hyok (Sobaeksu), Ri Chol-Myong (Pyongyang City).

Forwards:

 An Chol-Hyok (Rimyongsu), Choe Kum-Chol (Rimyongsu), Hong Yong-Jo (RUS), Jong Tae-Se (Kawasaki Frontale), Kim Kum-Il (April 25).

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies