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North Korean players get a Chinese cheering section

By the CNN Wire Staff
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North Korea's World Cup challenge
  • Fan 'army' consists of Chinese pop stars, actors
  • They didn't help North Korea overcome Brazil
  • North Korea in Cup for first time in decades
  • North Korea
  • China
  • FIFA World Cup

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- North Korea's tenacious World Cup football team needs all the help it can get. So it went across the border and rustled up a star-studded cheering section in South Africa.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the Sports Committee of North Korea distributed 1,000 tickets to a so-called "Chinese football fan volunteer army."

Citing the China Sports Event Management Group, Xinhua reported that the army mainly consists of well-known Chinese pop stars and actors, but garden variety football fanatics were recruited as well.

The fans, who competed with the overwhelming buzz in the stands of the vuvuzela trumpets, watched Brazil edge North Korea, 2-1 on Tuesday in Johannesburg and are to attend the North Korean-Portugal match on Monday in Cape Town.

North Korea is known for its restrictions on people leaving the impoverished and totalitarian nation. It last played in the World Cup in 1966, and China didn't qualify this year. South Korea and Japan are in the tournament.

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