The morning after the night before. And not everyone is as happy with the USWNT as you’d think.
After recording the biggest-ever victory in World Cup finals history (men’s and women’s) by hammering Thailand 13-0 in Reims on Tuesday, much of the talk around the game is not about Alex Morgan’s five goals or Jill Ellis’ side looking slick and hungry, but about a lack of respect.
People around the globe are saying that the U.S. women’s national team showed a lack of class and sportsmanship in celebrating every single goal they scored against Thailand with such fervour. Was that right to do?
Canadian TV analysts called the behavior “classless” and it was both “disgraceful” and “embarrassing” for the USWNT to behave in this way.
The real answer to all of this lies somewhere in the middle of outrage and applause.
For many, the USWNT players were fulfilling a dream of not only playing in a World Cup but scoring in one. They had worked their entire careers to get to this point, so why shouldn’t they enjoy it? That’s fair enough, and so too is the fact that goal difference may come down to deciding who finishes top of the group.
But it is also fair to say that you have to feel the moment and realize that Thailand were so far from being serious competition that a different tact is needed at a certain point.
Sure, score as many goals as you want and pummel them into the ground. But there just wasn’t something quite right about seeing the USWNT players wheel away in glee and counting how many they’d scored on their hands once it got past eight or nine.
Several USWNT stars consoled the Thailand players after the game and that was nice to see, but there should have been more compassion shown during the game. The same would be said at the men’s World Cup if a powerhouse, saw Brazil, was hammering a minnow, say Panama, 10-0 and Neymar and Co. were celebrating every goal as if it was the game-winner in stoppage time.
The outrage directed at the players and coaching staff has been way over the top though. This is as much the fault of FIFA as it is the USWNT.
If this kind of lopsided result happens in a youth team game locally, the referee probably ends it early or you start subbing in bench players and tell your team to treat it is as a training exercise.
But that is the big issue here. This is the World Cup finals, not a local youth game.
It is the pinnacle of the women’s game and is supposed to be the toughest test out there. Expanding the number of teams to 24 for both the 2015 World Cup and this World Cup was always going to result in plenty of lopsided results.
In Canada four years ago there were 10-0 wins for Germany against Ivory Coast and 10-1 wins for Switzerland against Ecuador in the group stages, plus a few 5-0 and 6-0 victories chucked in for good measure.
The same will happen this time around.
Expanding the tournament to 24 teams highlights the vast inequality in the funding of the women’s game around the planet, and more needs to be done to help fund the growth of women’s soccer in certain regions from certain associations, and FIFA.
Simply put, the USWNT can’t help how good they are and how much better they were than Thailand. The only thing they could have done is enjoyed scoring the goals, but toned down the celebrations a little.
The general outrage surrounding their record victory has been way over the top.