Last year I finally managed to visit North Korea. For over ten years I have been trying to get in to the Hermit Kingdom, by far the most secretive and repressive state in the world, to find out about football there.
Despite its isolation, North Korea has qualified for two men’s World Cups and four women’s finals. How do they do it? And what does football look like in North Korea? What about the league? And were the famous team that reached the quarter finals in 1966 really punished on their return to Pyongyang for carousing with women before the match against Portugal?
All these were answered, and more, in this long read for the Bleacher Report. It was an unforgettable trip, largely because North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb on my second day there.