December 05, 2023

North Korean soccer players physically confront referee after loss to Japan

Expert says clash at Asian Games due to emotions, not anti-Japan sentiment, but rivals have had heated encounters before

North Korea’s men’s soccer team bowed out of the Asian Games in acrimonious fashion against Japan on Sunday, lashing out at its opponents’ staff and physically confronting the referee following a loss to a rival that the DPRK demonizes as its former colonial ruler.

Japan edged the hotly contested quarterfinal 2-1 after scoring a penalty with around 10 minutes remaining before tensions boiled over.