If you think that progressing beyond the group stages of the Euros is worth celebrating, maybe you’re right. But the success of the North Korean football team in the 1966 World Cup, in which they reached the quarter finals, was a much bigger achievement. They were the first Asian team to have proceeded beyond the first round, and they beat Italy along the way.
Dan Gordon’s documentary The Game of Their Lives (2002) tells the story of the team’s campaign, benefiting from interviews with all the surviving players. This was the first of three highly enjoyable and informative documentaries on North Korea produced in collaboration with Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours – the trio being completed by A State of Mind (2004), which follows two young girls as they train for the Mass Games, and Crossing the Line (2006) which tells the fascinating story of American defector Joe Dresnok.
All three documentaries are now available to rent or buy via Vimeo. Links and more information on the Koryo Studio website. Well worth watching.