Key Points:

It's one of those sporting moments the script writers couldn't have penned any better - the United States and North Korean women's under-17 soccer teams meeting in the World Cup final at Albany tomorrow.

The symbolic leaders of the free world, playing toe-to-toe against a communist nation America tagged as part of the "Axis of Evil".

But for the North Koreans, it's just about football. Or so the Weekend Herald understands. An attempt to talk to the squad at their Takapuna training yesterday proved difficult.

The US team has relatively short defenders, but tall strikers, three of the North Korean girls said through an interpreter.

"But if we do our best we will have an opportunity to win in the final."

Numerous other questions were generally met with one-word responses or, in the main, no responses at all. And when the Weekend Herald's photographer started to snap away at the team putting on their boots, he was told to stop. Just photograph the three selected girls, a team support staff member said.

What did the girls think of New Zealand? Did they find it very different to North Korea?

Those questions simply drew blank looks.

They did say New Zealanders were kind, that the team had been welcomed, and that the training facilities here had been nice.

It wasn't that the team were an unfriendly bunch. They laughed together, their camaraderie obvious.

But talking to the media was clearly not something they were comfortable with.

They whispered together as they stole glances at the camera.

They looked suspiciously at the reporter's pen and notebook, and visibly squirmed when asked questions.

But out on the training pitch their bashfulness melted away. If their discipline, soft touches and team unity are anything to go by, they will be a powerful force against the United States tomorrow.

So too will their fans - a score of whom are South Korean.

The two countries have a strained war-torn relationship, but at Thursday's Christchurch semifinal many of those cheering for the North Koreans were from South Korea.

The same is expected at Albany tomorrow.

The big prize:

* What: Fifa Women's Under-17 World Cup final.
* Who: North Korea versus US.
* Where: North Harbour Stadium, Albany, North Shore City.
* When: 4pm tomorrow.