North Korea’s Big Soccer Match Is As Weird And Organized As You Think It Is

North Korea is one of the strangest, most secretive places on the planet, and this game reinforces all those stereotypes.

It is absolutely shocking that North Korea has allowed itself to fall in love with soccer. For those who don’t know, the totalitarian state does all it can to repress its population, which has little freedom and almost no opportunity to express itself. Information on the outside world is controlled to the point that the average citizen probably knows less about world politics than you or I know about the chemical composition of Raid. Yet, somehow the country has adopted the world’s most popular sport, the single most universal vehicle for freedom and self-expression. Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, even has that ultimate manifestation of soccer enthusiasm: the derby.  

Ostensibly, every year Pyongyang FC and 4.25 Sports Club face off in the Pyongyang Derby in what we are sure is a thrilling competitive display that is most pleasing to their glorious leader, or something that gets these guys worked up enough to crack a smile and drink from their generic bottles of water: 

Yes, that club's name really is 4.25. Unfortunately, the name is an ode to April the 25th, and not the number 4.25, becuase that would just be too perfect.

A user on Reddit found footage from the 2013 Pyongyang Derby, and we have to say, from the massive, perfectly matching crowd split right down the middle to the eerily well coordinated claps, chants, and sporadic drum beats, the game is an exemplary display of North Korean discipline, organization, and conformity. We would be laughing if we weren’t so weirded out. 

In another surprising example of cultural appropriation, the crowd seems to have adopted the Mexican wave, alought I have a feeling they know it as something else. 

As you see in the video, 4.25 beat Pyongyang FC 2-0 on the day, which must have been incredibly disappointing for the man known as the “North Korean Ronaldo,” Pyongyang FC’s Choe Myong-ho. Even in North Korea, Ronaldo comes in second.  

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