Losing 2-0 to the United States in the Women's World Cup isn't exactly an international embarrassment, especially if you're North Korea and thus not particularly good at the sport in the first place. It's curious, then, that North Korea's head coach Kim Kwang Min would point to a lightning strike earlier in the month as the explanation behind the reverse.
Kim claimed that at least five of his players were injured badly enough to be sent to the hospital following the incident, which took place during training on June 8th:
On the 8th of June our players were hit by lightning. More than five were hospitalised. The goalkeeper and the four strikers were most affected and some midfielders as well. The strength of our players not sufficient [after the lightning strike] so our strategy could not be implemented.
The doctors said players were not capable of participating in the tournament, but until the very last minute they gave their best. The fact that they played could be called abnormal - the result of a very strong will.
Nobody's really sure whether this story is true or not, but if coach Kim isn't telling porkies - and it's hard to see why he'd invent the story of his players being hit by lightning during practice - it would clearly have a huge effect on the team if half the players were having to deal with recuperation from said strike as well as a classy second period performance from the USA.
And if Kim is fibbing, this may just be the weirdest thing a coach has ever said to deflect attention away from both his performance and how his team played on the day.