BAKU: North Korea set the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup off to a sensational start in the Azeri capital by thrashing a harrowingly poor Gambia 11-0 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The formal Opening Match was set for later in the day but the North Koreans wasted no time in setting down a thunderous marker. Their victory margin improved on Germany’s 10-1 beating of South Africa in the 2010 finals in Trinidad and Tobago and also on the Germans’ previous 9-0 beating of Mexico.

Two hat-tricks – from Ri Kyong Hyang and Ri Un Sim – were supp0rted by further strikes from Choe Yun Gyong, Kim Pyong Hwa, Kim So Hyang and Ri Hyang Sim (two). The Gambians accepted their fate peacefully and quietly, putting up no fight whatsoever.

North Korean coach Hwang Yong Bong thought his team had worked hard out of determination to win on their first-ever appearance in the under-17 finals. It was not that Gambia were weak but that Korea had played well and gained valuable experience which should hold them in good stead for the next two games. He thought the other teams in the group, the United States and France, were two of the strongest teams in the competition.

Gambia’s Buba Jallow said: “This is football. We were performing in this tournament for the first time so this was a big experience for us.North Korea were better than us tatically and technically.

“We came here to raise our Gambian flag high but to be humilated like this was not what we had expected but we have to accept it.

“I would like to tell the Gambians at home that it’s not our intention just to participate or compete. The code of conduct says we must accept defeat with dignity so I do that – I accept this defeat with dignity. We have to accept it by hook or by crook.

“We’ve seen the mistakes and we’ll work on those and prepare for theUnited States.”

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