UPDATE II: The final score ended up 0-0. Iran needed a win, but only came away with a draw, and it is now highly unlikely that they will be able to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
More screencaps of the game:
UPDATE: 0-0 at halftime in Pyongyang. Iran has outplayed North Korea, but have yet to score.
Here are some screencaps of the game:
The Financial Times says the game may have deep political implications for Iran:
Soccer result could affect Iranian election
Football fans the world over love to tell anyone who will listen that their sport is “not just a game” – it means so much more than that.But the clash between North Korea and Iran in Pyongyang on Saturday could be one of those occasions when the cliché actually proves true. A World Cup qualifier between the two remaining members of George W. Bush’s infamous axis of evil – one fresh from a nuclear test, the other accused by some of wanting to conduct its own – sparks all sorts of international intrigue.
Coming just six days before the football-mad Iranians vote in presidential elections it could also have domestic repercussions.
Some argue that failure to qualify – Iran needs to win its remaining three fixtures over the next 11 days to be guaranteed a place at next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa – could damage the re-election hopes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president.
From further down in the article:
Football is especially popular among young Iranians, and 60 per cent of the population is under 30. When Iran qualified for the 1998 World Cup, millions of people spontaneously celebrated in the streets, dancing, singing and even drinking alcohol, all unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic.
Mr Ahmadinejad is seen as vulnerable to the “football vote” because his government is accused of interfering in the national sport. That interference partly explains the failures on the pitch – Iran lie fourth in their qualifying group with just five points from five games – say critics of the populist president.
Kickoff time is at 1:00am, 16 minutes from now.