Korea DPR laid down a gauntlet on the opening day of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup by thrashing Gambia 11-0 in their Group B encounter in Baku.
The North Koreans, winners of this tournament four years ago, were far too strong for their African opponents, who are appearing at a major FIFA competition for the very first time.
Ri Un Sim and Ri Kyong Hyang both bagged trebles as one of the genuine contenders for the title sent a message to section rivals France and USA against admittedly shell-shocked opponents.
From the first whistle the Asian side were dominant and although it took them almost 20 minutes to register, three goals in as many minutes put the result beyond doubt.
Choe Yun Gyong capitalised on a rebound to break the deadlock on 18 minutes, and further goals from Ri Un Sim and Ri Kyong Hyang followed a minute apart as Gambia struggled to regain their composure.
Ri Un Sim completed a hat-trick before half-time, first converting a spot-kick and then a smart finish from the edge of the area, before Kim Phyong Hwa made it half-a-dozen in the opening period for Korea DPR.
Korea DPR took their foot off the gas to a degree in the second half but wasteful passing from Gambia, allied to some clinical counter-attacking play, saw them extend their advantage by another five goals.
Ri Kyong Hyang secured a treble of her own after scoring in the 63rd and 77th minutes, sandwiching an effort by Kim So Hyang. Ri Hyang Sim rounded off the result with two late individual efforts as Korea DPR proved their credentials immediately.
They will now face France on Tuesday while Gambia will attempt to resurrect their campaign against USA on the same day, with both games taking place in Baku.
"I am obviously very happy with the result and the score, but we have two more games ahead of us and we have to give our best in each of them. The first match was very important to give more experience to the girls and this is a process that will continue in the next couple of games. Gambia is not a weak side at all and some of their players did quite well today, but the first match is always tense", Hwang Yong Bong, Korea DPR coach