‘They could have won with humility’: US women's team criticized after 13-0 Thailand World Cup rout
The USA women’s team set a record World Cup scoreline as they annihilated Thailand 13-0 in their opening game in Reims, but amid the praise for their performance the team also faced criticism for their celebrations.
Striker Alex Morgan bagged five goals as the USA scored an incredible 10 times in the second half at the Stade Auguste-Delaune to record the biggest-ever winning margin at a FIFA World Cup, men’s or women’s.
But as the plaudits poured in for a stellar display from the defending champions, some observers took issue with the US players continuing to celebrate exuberantly as they racked up double figures against the hapless Thais.
Former Canadian international Clare Rustad branded the continued celebrations as “completely unnecessary” and said they showed a lack of “grace” toward their opponents.
"I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn’t manage to do that," Rustad said on TSN.
"Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary. What is this?"
Striker Morgan was seen counting her goal tally on her fingers while the US players continued to mass in a joyous huddle even when the scoreline went beyond 10-0.
Fellow former Canada international Kaylyn Kyle, who won more than 100 caps for her country, slammed the scenes as “disgusting.”
“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 first time in the World Cup, they’re just happy to be there. Celebrate, I get it, like a Mallory Pugh [who scored on her World Cup debut].
“But these people counting their goals, this … I’m embarrassed. I was a female professional athlete; there’s kids watching this and to be celebrating when it’s eight, nine, 10.
"I said in the pre-game, yes, you want to score a lot of goals, yes, you want to make your mark because of the goal difference. But there’s a way to do it, and that is not the way for me."
Those views gained some backing online, as others called out the US team for failing to dial down their celebrations despite the opposition being long beaten.
The US players were unrepentant, however, with five-goal star Morgan saying: "With the scoreline tonight, we have to look at the group stage as every goal counts.
"It was important for us to continue to go. We knew every goal could matter."
US legend Abby Wambach also backed the team, tweeting that “for some players this is there [sic] first World Cup goal, and they should be excited.
“Imagine it being you out there. This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?”
For all that have issue with many goals: for some players this is there first World Cup goal, and they should be excited. Imagine it being you out there.This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate.Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) June 11, 2019
It’s fine to wish that the #USWNT didn’t celebrate their last few goals while also acknowledging that it’s totally understandable that a pro athlete who’s worked their entire life for something is probably inclined to just fucking celebrate. It’s fine.— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) June 12, 2019
Wambach’s attempt to bring the men’s game into the discussion was rejected by some, however, as they felt that male players – such as French star Paul Pogba – would have been roundly mocked had they continued to celebrate when the scoreline was double figures.
Hot take: If some CONCACAF or AFC minnow snuck into the men’s World Cup somehow, and France put 13 on them, and Pogba was celebrating the 13th like it was the first, we would ABSOLUTELY be calling him an unsportsmanlike dickhead— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) June 12, 2019
Next up for the US on Sunday are Chile, who lost their first game 2-0 against Sweden.
Ominously, the Chileans are ranked five places below Thailand in the FIFA women’s rankings.