Football

Americans' World Cup 13-0 rout of Thailand polarises opinion

The United States’ record 13-0 drubbing of Thailand at the Women’s World Cup yesterday morning (June 12)  did not sit well with everybody, with opinion divided on whether the team should have so mercilessly punished their hapless 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.

He was also critical of the US team for showing their hand ahead of games against more formidable opponents.

“Not sure why the #USWNT is ‘wasting’ any of their set-plays when the score is 3-0. Bury (Thailand) then move on, but don’t use anything that could be needed in future games,” he wrote.

US coach Jill Ellis defended her team’s approach and said it would have been disrespectful to Thailand to ease up despite the huge lead.

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

“It’s a tournament where goal difference is a criterion. A lot of this is about building momentum and so, as a coach, I don’t find it my job to rein my players in. I respect Thailand, I spoke to some of them afterwards and they should keep their heads up. This is part of the growth of the game.”

Record international 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.

“Imagine it being you out there,” she said.

“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?”

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,” Stone said.

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

Former US international Alexi Lalas, another member of the panel, however, defended the Americans.

“It’s not their problem they’re playing against a poor team,” he said.

“The US team are not here to be anybody’s friend. They are here to win a World Cup. The US team, each and every time the whistle blows, are going to score as many goals as possible.”  – Reuters

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