North Korea and Greece in deadlock


VIENNA, May 26 – Former European champions Greece were held by fellow World Cup qualifiers North Korea 2-2 on Tuesday in a pre-World Cup friendly.Greece took the lead in Altach, in western Vorarlberg, after two minutes with a goal by Kostas Katsouranis, who vowed to cheer his debt-stricken country up with a good performance in South Africa at the finals, which run from June 11 to July 11.

But North Korea’s Japan-based striker Jong Tae-Se levelled the score after 24 minutes.

Jong, nicknamed "Asia’s Rooney" after England’s star striker, was on-hand again after Greece regained the lead three minutes into the second half with a goal by striker Angelos Charisteas.

Four minutes later, the North Korean Kawasaki Frontale striker brought the score level once more, depriving Otto Rehhegal’s Greeks victory in front of some 3,000 spectators.

Jong Tae-Se, who has been training in the Swiss resort of Anzere with his teammates, has already vowed to bag a goal in every group game at the World Cup next month.

North Korea, ranked just 106th in the world and making their first appearance at the finals since 1966, is up against five-time champions Brazil, 2006 semi-finalists Portugal and African giants Ivory Coast in the so-called group of death, Group G.

Greece will meanwhile face two-time champions Argentina, African heavyweights Nigeria and 2002 semi-finalists South Korea in the group stage.