Football

Americans’ 13-0 rout of Thailand in World Cup polarises opinion

The United States' record 13-0 drubbing of Thailand at the Women's World Cup yesterday morning (Singapore time) divided opinion on whether the team should have so mercilessly punished their opponents.

Striker Alex Morgan scored five times as the holders began their World Cup campaign with the largest margin of victory in either the men or women's World Cup.

Former American international Taylor Twellman, however, criticised the team on social media, saying the side's goal celebrations in Reims, France, were excessive.

"Celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth like many of you. Curious to see if anyone apologises for this," Twellman tweeted to his 327,000 followers.

US coach Jill Ellis defended her team's approach and said it would have been disrespectful to Thailand to ease up.

"To be respectful to opponents is to play hard against them," Ellis said.

"It's a tournament where goal difference is a criterion. Also, it is about building momentum and so, as a coach, I don't find it my job to rein my players in."

Record goalscorer Abby Wambach also defended her former teammates.

"For all those who have an issue with many goals: for some players this is their first World Cup goal and they should be excited," Wambach, who has 184 international goals to her name, tweeted to her 679,000 followers.

She also questioned whether there was an element of sexism in the criticism.

"Would you tell a men's team to not score or celebrate?" Wambach said.

Meanwhile, Rob Stone, the host of the Fox Sports World Cup coverage on American television, sided with Twellman.

"This got humiliating at some point. It just became an exercise in target practice," he said.

"You know what I wanted to do? Pull it back, knock it around."

Former US international Alexi Lalas defended the Americans.

"It's not their problem they're playing against a poor team. The US team are not here to be anybody's friend. They are here to win a World Cup," he said. - REUTERS

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