June 12 – After racking up the biggest ever victory in the history of the women’s World Cup with their 13-0 crushing of Thailand, the way defending champions the United States celebrated has been heavily criticised by North American broadcasters.
Alex Morgan scored five at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims as the US showed no mercy with a remarkable 10 goals in the second half alone.
But some believe the team showed poor sportsmanship by massively celebrating against humiliated opponents who at the end looked like they were only in the tournament to make up the numbers.
Clare Rustad and Kaylyn Kyle, analysts for Canadian sports network TSN and former Canadian internationals, did not mince their words.
“I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn’t manage to do that,” Rustad said. “Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary.”
“What is this?” Kyle added. “They’re the No. 1 team in the world. And for me, I’m disgusted, honestly. You’re going up against a team that’s their first time in the World Cup. They’re just happy to be there… I’m embarrassed. I was a female professional athlete. There are kids watching this.”
It’s actually the second time Thailand have been in the World Cup after making their debut four years ago but the Canadians were not the only ones to criticise the US players.
Taylor Twellman, an ESPN analyst and former player for the New England Revolution and the US men’s national team, tweeted that one celebration in particular after the 9th goal “leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Curious to see if anyone apologizes for this post-game.”
That certainly didn’t happen. Asked in her post-game press conference whether her players had to be quite so strong in their celebrations, US coach Jill Ellis dismissed the question.
“Part of me is sitting here wondering, if this is 10-0 in a men’s World Cup, are we getting the same questions?” she responded.
Thailand’s players were in tears at the final whistle but Abby Wambach, a Women’s World Cup winner with the US in 2015, took up the same stance as Ellis as she leapt to the defence of her former team-mates.
“For all that have issue with many goals: for some players this is [their] first World Cup goal, and they should be excited. Imagine it being you out there. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?”
While the goal celebrations were obviously joyous, there was also consolation from US players towards the Thais, many of whom were left in tears at the final whistle.
In many youth leagues in the US, matches are stopped or goals are not recorded once the score gets to 8-0.
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