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May 28, 2017

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N. Korea lambasts Spain's 'worn-out' tiki-taka passing

SEOUL--Spain's shock elimination from the World Cup Saturday attracted scrutiny from North Korean state media which more usually runs vitriolic attacks on the country's enemies and glowing reports on the activities of leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean fans said Spain's intricate "tiki-taka" passing style was "worn-out" after the soccer giants' early exit from the tournament, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The reclusive state failed to qualify but state television has aired recordings of matches, which were drawing "great attention of soccer fans and televiewers," KCNA said.

"But it seems nothing can overpower the shock given to most of them due to the Spanish team's early exit," it said.

Yu Myong Uk, an official of North Korea's football association, told KCNA he was "very surprised" at Spain's "disgraceful defeat" at the hands of the lower-ranked Netherlands.

"It seems to me that Spanish tiki-taka is going bankrupt," he said.

Pak Chol Nam, a teacher at Pyongyang International Football School, said Spain's failure provided a valuable lesson.

"The Spanish team's defeat gave me a lesson that it is most important to grasp the tactics of rivals and smartly counter them," Pak was quoted as saying.

"I will further study together with my trainees lessons and experiences gained in the on-going World Cup to put the training on a more scientific basis."

Many fans were sending messages or making phone calls to a sports daily in Pyongyang to express their feelings or propose creative opinions on developing the game in North Korea, KCNA said.

Reflecting the popularity of the sport, North Korea has released a set of postage stamps to mark the World Cup in Brazil, KCNA reported earlier this week.

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