September 27, 2023
Features

‘I like Messi’: What North Koreans think of soccer beyond their borders

The country’s relative openness to sports allows DPRK fans to follow superstars and take inspiration from their feats

Soccer fans across North Korea have tuned into state TV over the past week and a half for repeated replays of the World Cup final, watching Lionel Messi lead Argentina to victory in a thrilling penalty shootout over defending champions France.

And if state propaganda is to be believed, many North Koreans likely celebrated the storybook ending to the Argentine superstar’s World Cup saga.