Wednesday, June 29, 2011

US Women's Team Strikes North Korea Like Lightning

In the opening match of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup for the US National Women's Soccer Team, our side defeated North Korea 2 - 0 to commence their campaign with a solid win.  Goals by unexpectred starter Lauren Cheney in the 54th minute, and by defender Rachel Buehler in the 76th minute, were enough to carry the American women past a talented, young and agressive North Korean team.

After the match, North Korean manager Kwang Min Kim attributed the loss to the fact that the Korean players had been struck by lightning.  As reported in the Ghana News, Kwang Min Kim said,

"When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalised.  Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament.  But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don't want to think about anything but football.

"The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will." reported the BBC.

Given the secretive nature of the North Koreans, we may never know if this is true or not. The players aren't allowed to speak to the press, their training sessions are protected by security guards and closed to outsiders, and their public appearances regularly get canceled. Plus, it is curious that Kim only mentioned this freak occurrence after his team lost.

If it is true, a lightning strike that injured four defenders and disrupted their training could explain why their back line seemed to fall apart in the second half after holding the U.S. scoreless in the first. But even if it's not true, it's still a tremendous excuse that others might now try in everyday life.