North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun has angrily dismissed reports that four members of his team had defected.
The rumours were sparked after the official team sheet for North Korea's 2-1 defeat to Brazil on Tuesday listed substitute goalkeeper Kim Myong-Won and three others as 'absent'.
The North Koreans themselves were expected to explain the mystery at a scheduled press conference on Friday but the event was cancelled.
"The management of the team and the players is my responsibility and there were never any team members missing," the reclusive country's coach Jong-Hun told the media at a pre-match press conference ahead of their Group G clash with Portugal on Monday.
"They have always been with us every day. We eat, sleep and train together. The reports were false."
As before, no players were present at the press conference.
The full North Korea squad did turn up for training on Sunday where an extra player was identified as Ryang Yong-Gi, axed when the team was cut to 23 players for the World Cup.
Kim dismissed talk that that there might be 'consequences' for him and the team back home if they fail to impress against Portugal and in their final group game against Ivory Coast.
"Even if we don't reach our goals [to qualify] I think that it will be a wonderful experience for our team to grow further in the future," he said.