With the actual olympic games yet to kick off, it was all kicking off last night at Hampden Park as the organisers made a gaffe of epic proportions. If you wanted to make a major error the two countries you shouldn’t get wrong are North and South Korea, but that’s what the olympic organisers did.
While the North Korean women’s team were warming up on the pitch, the big screens at Hampden were showing the line-ups for both sides. However as the Koreans were being announced to the crowd, the flag beside each of the footballers were not that of North Korea but of their neighbouring country and enemy South Korea.
Not the best start to the olympic games, especially since both countries are still officially at war.
The furious Korean coaches ordered their players back into the dressing room, a move which left fans and the Columbian side perplexed.
The staff at Hampden, eventually displayed the correct flag, and enticed the fuming North Koreans back out to play the scheduled tie.
During this time the thousands of fans who were in attendance for the earlier USA v France game left enmasse, and by the time the teams came out to warm up again – and effectively kick off the match an hour late – you would struggle to reach the number of the beast – 666.
The videos showcasing each nation’s football line=ups were believed to have been prepared centrally down in London, before being dispatched to Olympic venues.
Last night, London 2012 organisers LOCOG said: “We’ll apologise to the team and the National Committee and steps will be taken to ensure no repeat.”
London 2012 spokesman Andy Mitchell said: “The South Korean flag was shown in the video package on the screen before the kick-off and the North Koreans were naturally very upset about that. A genuine mistake was made for which we apologise.”
Speaking after the match in which they won 2-0, North Korea’s coach Sin Ui Gun said: “Our team was not going to participate unless the problem was solved properly. Unfortunately it took some time later for the broadcast to be done again properly and we made the decision to go on with the match.”
However, it could have been worse – the organisers could have downloaded the late Kim Jong-il’s number one hit ‘I’m so Ronery’ from spoof movie Team America, thinking that to be the national anthem of the communist state.
A Faux pas that the Kuwaitis made in a recent major tournament when they played the Borat national anthem of Kazakhstan rather than the actual national anthem.
That would really have seen Hampden Park on the target list for North Korea’s missile batteries.