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Beyond North Korea' women's soccer to face North and South Korea

South Korea's women's national soccer team's Casey Eugene Fair speaks to the media during a convocation training ahead of the second round of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games at Paju NFC in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 16.

Colleen Bell's women's soccer team faces a watershed match in their quest to qualify for their first ever Olympic Games. The opponent is North Korea, the team that handed them a crushing defeat at the Asian Games a month ago.

The Belles will take on the North Koreans at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 29 at the Xiamen Yigret Stadium in Fujian Province, China, in the second Group B match of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Asia Second Qualifying Round.

A first-ever Olympic berth is at stake.

In the history of women's soccer at the Olympic Games, which began in Atlanta in 1996, South Korea has never advanced to the knockout rounds. Velho is determined to qualify for her first Olympic Games.

To do so, they will have to get past North Korea. The Asian secondary qualifiers consist of 12 teams divided into three groups of four, with the top three finishers from each group and one team from each group advancing to the third round. Teams will then be drawn in groups of two to play home and away in the third round, with only the two winners punching their ticket to Paris.

South Korea is in a group with Thailand, North Korea, and China and will need to overcome North Korea to qualify for the third round in at least second place.

North Korea, a newcomer to international competition, is coming off a runner-up finish at the Hangzhou Asian Games. In their first match of the second qualifying round, they defeated the home team, China, 2-1.

Velho also has a debt to pay to North Korea. South Korea failed to win a medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games on Sept. 30, losing 1-4 to North Korea in the quarterfinals.
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Friday, October 27, 2023

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