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The North Korean men's soccer team, which is participating in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in four years, is competing to advance to the finals in a third country rather than at home.
FIFA stated on its website on the 2nd (Korean time) that the first match between North Korea and Syria, scheduled for the 17th, for the 2026 North and Central America World Cup Asian region second qualifying round, will be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a third country.
Through the match against Syria, North Korea returned to the World Cup stage for the first time in four years since November 2019. At the time, North Korea played the second round of the Asian qualifiers with South Korea to advance to the 2022 Qatar World Cup finals, but announced its withdrawal midway due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
North Korea, which is in Group B with Myanmar, Syria, and Japan, has not yet opened its borders after the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asian second round of the World Cup, and Syria is also experiencing a civil war, so it is interpreted that it has been confirmed that the event will be held in a third country. do.
Meanwhile, the 2026 North Central America Asia 2nd qualifying round will be held in a home-and-away format with 36 countries participating and divided into 9 groups of 3 teams. The first and second place winners from each group advance to the third preliminary round and also secure a ticket to the 2027 Asian Cup finals to be held in Saudi Arabia.