The North Korean team before their 2010 World Cup match against Ivory Coast Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport
North Korea

Middlesbrough Ladies to tour North Korea

Possibly the most improbable football story since North Korea qualified for the World Cup last year.

MIDDLESBROUGH FC WILL become the first ever British team to play in North Korea when they fly to Pyongyang on Saturday for four nights.

Manager MaRrie Wieczorek will lead fourteen players and three coaches on their North Korean tour, playing two matches and hosting two coaching clinics.

Middlesbrough was the host venue for North Korea during the 1966 World Cup, where the North Koreans famously beat Italy 1-0 at Ayresome Park.

‘I know North Korea is shrouded in mystery for many people in the U.K., but I get the impression that the Koreans will be wonderful hosts,” said Wieczorek, a former England national player. ”The trip is very much about friendship and is evidence of football’s power to break down cultural barriers.”

Surviving members of the team which played against Italy, including the scorer Pak Do Ik, will meet the Middlesbrough ladies on their tour.

The Guardian reports: “Acting captain Rachael Hine, a mortgage adviser with Santander, said: ‘We know it’s going to be different. But nobody really knows how different. We’re just trying to go there with an open mind.’ This was a philosophy that has already been tested. ‘I told the girls their mobile phones will be confiscated at the airport,’ said Wieczorek. ‘Their jaws just dropped.’