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The Game of Their Lives - Chollima Chookgudan (BBC)

In 1966 the North Korean football team shocked the world by knocking out Italy at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough. Using archive footage and interviews with the seven surviving players, "The Game of Their Lives: (Chollima Chookgudan - 천리마 축구단), an award-winning documentary tells the remarkable and highly entertaining story of the pint-sized giant killers. Back then, the North Koreans became so popular at Middlesbrough, the manufacturing city in northeastern England that was their World Cup home base, that the local citizenry adopted them as their favorites.

Some 35 years later, BBC filmmakers obtained unprecedented access to North Korea to track down the surviving members of that 1966 team, which went on to take a 3-0 lead over Eusebio’s Portugal in the knockout phase before finally falling.

After the Korean War of the 1950s the team expected a hostile reception. However, the Mayor of the town asked the people of Middlesbrough to accept the players as individuals and sportsmen. The people of the town welcomed the North Koreans with open arms and supported them en masse on the terraces at Ayresome Park for the Korean's first game against the favourites, Italy. The Koreans were surprised and delighted at their reception and it was an enormous shock to the world when these virtually unknown outsiders won and sent the Italian team home to face being pelted with tomatoes.

In the end, the filmmakers found not the automatons Westerners expect to see in North Korea, but regular men and women, fond of reminiscing about their role in one of the most amazing episodes in soccer history. (Source)

Watch the full documentary here (8 part playlist)


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