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Iran’s Hashemian praises DPR Korea

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AFC - They may have conceded more goals than any other team in the tournament, but DPR Korea’s back four have an unlikely fan – Iran skipper Vahid Hashemian.

The Koreans lost 7-0 to Portugal in their second Group G match having earlier won many fans in their brave 2-1 defeat to tournament favourites Brazil.

They say goodbye to the tournament on Friday against Ivory Coast and will look forward with confidence to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™ finals in January, where they will face Iran in Group D.

Hashemian and his teammates have faced DPR Korea several times in FIFA World Cup qualifying and he is adamant that they have one of the best defences in Asia.

“I have known them since the FIFA World Cup 2006 qualifying tournament,” Hashemian told the-afc.com, who was shocked at their defeat to Portugal. “They are very good at blocking attacks. They are unbelievable.

“Their loss to Portugal has not changed my mind about them. They were very disciplined against Brazil and if the goalkeeper had not made a mistake, they result could have been different.

“What Portugal could do was score earlier. That made the difference.”

In qualifying for the South Africa finals, Iran beat DPR Kora 2-1 in Tehran and drew 0-0 in Pyongyang.

“I have to admit we were lucky in the qualifiers,” said Hashemian.

Also defending the Korean performances was AFC technical analyst Ken Shellito, a former Chelsea manager.

“It was not North Korea’s day (against Portugal),” said Shellito. “Every mistake resulted in one goal. I am disappointed with the result but these things happen in football.

“Portugal has high-quality attacking players. They were fantastic and got the breaks.”

Hashemian is not the only person who did not lose his faith on North Korea. The AFC technical analyst Ken Shellito has the same idea when he says North Korea did not deserve that result.

“Every mistake caused one goal. I am dissapointment in result but these things can be happened in football, “said ex-Chelsea manager Shellito.

“Portugal has high quality attacking players. They were fantastic and got the breaks. Yesterday was not North korea day”.

DPR Korea, already unable to progress to the last 16,  have one more chance to gain a victory in the World Cup when they play Ivory Coast on Friday.

- Shahin Rahami

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