The Japanese media was also stunned by the North Korean goalkeeper’s ridiculous mistake.
North Korea lost 0-1 to Syria in the first match of Group B of the 2026 FIFA North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 17 (KST).
North Korea, ranked 115th in the FIFA rankings, was outclassed by 92nd-ranked Syria.

Goalkeeper Kang Joo-hyuk was the cause of the North Korean collapse.
Kang left his goal in the 36th minute to deal with an aerial ball.

He jumped first to grab the ball out of the air.

However, he misjudged where the ball would land and jumped too quickly.

In the meantime, Syrian striker Omar Karbin was one step ahead and took possession of the ball.

Kang Joo-hyuk lost his center in midair and ran straight into Karvin.

The referee awarded a penalty kick for Kang’s charge.

Omar Al-Soma stepped up to take the spot kick and put Syria up 1-0.

North Korea was unable to find an equalizer and the game ended as it did.

A clear misjudgment by the North Korean goalkeeper led to disaster.
This is not the first time North Korea has been guilty of gag football.

In the 2016 U16 Asian Championship between North Korea and Uzbekistan, the North Korean goalkeeper failed to stop a goal kick from the opposing goalkeeper and conceded the goal. 먹튀검증

The ball was clear enough for the North Korean goalkeeper to get a hand on, but after two tumbles, he was unable to do so.
The North Korean goalkeeper was blamed for the goal with a ridiculous pass.

AFC’s investigation revealed that North Korea had intentionally staged a “gag show” to lose.

North Korea’s intentional loss to Uzbekistan allowed them to avoid Iraq and meet underdog Oman in the quarterfinals.

In the end, North Korea reached the quarterfinals and qualified for the U17 World Cup.
The North Korean Football Association was later fined $20,000 by the AFC, while the head coach and goalkeeper were each fined and suspended for one year.
The North Korean goalkeeper’s behavior also made headlines in Japan.

Japanese soccer media outlet Football Zone commented, “North Korea’s foul was so stupid and silly.”

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