They were to face on the best teams in Europe at the time, Portugal, who was lead by the best player in Europe at the time, the Mozambican Eusebio.
Portugal had won their group after three consecutive victories against Hungary, Bulgaria, and the defending world champions of Brazil, in a match where the Brazilian star Pelé, had been slaughtered mercilessly and without any consideration from the English referee George McCabe in one of the great shames of the World Cup in England.
Nevertheless, Portugal were ready for the quarterfinal, and in spite of North Corea’s victory against Italy, the Portuguese clearly had their eyes on the semi-final, although the match was not as easy as the Portuguese had expected.
The North Coreans were obviously unimpressed by the European stars, and started attacking eagerly, and in one minute only went ahead on a splendid shot from outside by the captain Pak Seung-Zin to the delight of the 51,000 spectators.
And this did not stop the Coreans, who made up for the defensive weaknesses by continuing the attacking football and quick touches; although the Portuguese had some chances, mainly by the strong Eusebio, their defence looked very weak as the Coreans went ahead both 2-0 and 3-0 by the 25th minute in what was turning into an astonishing match.
But North Corea continued attacking, perhaps naively in a match where the Portuguese were more experienced and cynical. Only a few minutes after North Corea’s 3-0 goal, Eusebio scored coldly on a pass by his Benfica colleague José Augusto. This gave Portugal some faith at a moment when they were seemingly being overrun, and before half-time the Portuguese forced a penalty kick, where Eusebio scored to 2-3, the score at half-time.
The Portuguese came out to the second half with more concentration and marking the Coreans closer, and ten minutes into the second half Eusebio equalized with a splendid shot from a relatively sharp angle.
By then, the Portuguese were confidently on top of the match, and only three minutes later Portugal got a new penalty kick and Eusebio scored his fourth goal, bringing Portugal ahead. The match had now completely turned around thanks to the “Black Panther” from Mozambique, and only ten minutes before time José Augusto sealed the Portuguese victory with a header.
Eusebio had defeated North Corea, who nevertheless had been the great revelation fo the tournament, and had endeared many fans with their aggressive, quick and optimistic style. The North Coreans returned home as heroes, but were never to return to a World Cup, and the players that had made such a great feat all but disappeared, except from the world cup memory of such a great team.
- 23rd July 1966, Goodison Park, Liverpool
- Attendance: 51,000
- Referee: Menachem Azkhenazi (Israel)
Goals: 0-1 Pak Seung-Zin (1), 0-2 Li Dong-Woon (22), 0-3 Yang Seung-Kook (25), 1-3 Eusebio (27), 2-3 Eusebio (43) (pen), 3-3 Eusebio (56), 4-3 Eusebio (59) (pen), 5-3 Augusto (80)
Portugal: Pereira; Vicente, Hilario, Coluna, Simões, Augusto, Eusebio, Graca, Morais, Torres, Baptista
North Corea: Lee Chan-Myung; Shin Yung-Kyoo, Lim Zoong-Sun, Pak Doo-Ik, Han Bong-Zin, Oh Yoon-Kyung, Ha Yong-Won, Im Seung-Hwi, Pak Seung-Zin (c), Yang Seung-Kook, Li Dong-Woon