The U.S. women’s national team opened World Cup play on Tuesday in dominant, historic fashion.
But as the USWNT celebrated turning a 3-0 halftime rout into a new standard for dominant play against an overmatched opponent, some took umbrage with not only the margin — but the players’ continued celebration of the scores well after the game was in hand.
‘There are kids watching’
Clare Rustad and Kaylyn Kyle, analysts for Canadian sports network TSN and former players for the Canadian women’s national team, had some of the strongest rebukes.
— Hazelnoot-noot Latte (@allissanatalie) June 11, 2019
"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.”
Kyle grabbed the baton from Rustad and ran full bore into “disgusted” territory.
“What is this?” Kyle responded. “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 made the World Cup after the team’s debut in 2015.
Rustad, Kyle weren’t alone in criticism
Like with Kyle and Rustad, the score wasn’t the primary issue for many critics, but how the players handled themselves and the fact that such a disparate matchup was allowed to take place to begin with.
W/ goal differential being so important, or potentially so, scoring an abundance of them in group stage can be meaningful. Ao score away. Just hate seeing Rapinoe showing up her opponent like that. Celebrate w/ teammates but the “routine” was rubbing her opponents’s nose in it.
— John Putney (@putneyjk) June 11, 2019
— Sean Kent (@seankent) June 11, 2019
So my son's league has a 7-pt rule where they can't score any more so as to not embarrass the opponent. Adults use this to teach a lesson about sportsmanship, yet people support these double digit celebrations?
— rafa (@Used_2_be_Ron) June 11, 2019
That USWNT result did feel gross, but not because the USWNT did anything wrong. It's because FIFA and FAs don't do anything for women's soccer and allow disparities like that to exist.
— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) June 11, 2019
Of course as with most everything involving social media, there were strongly worded takes on the other side, with many questioning if a men’s team would receive the same criticism.
Of course the U.S. men’s national team didn’t even make the most recent World Cup, much less beat an opponent by double digits, so there’s no real comparable to hold Tuesday’s result up against.
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
I get the argument against "running up the score." I also think part of respecting your opponent is to treat them as an equal. Treating them as if they are not worthy of your full effort for 30 minutes seems just as humiliating. #USA #USWNT
— Jeremy Lance (@JeremyLance) June 11, 2019
— BettingOnBullStreet (@BettingOnBullSt) June 11, 2019
You don’t like us running up the score???
Tell them to learn to play some defense and stop it.
People who complain about putting numbers on the board when you are already up big in anything are soft and bad for sports. Period.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) June 11, 2019
Very annoyed with people’s hot takes on the #USWNT win vs Thailand.
Would we be asking the men’s team to ease up? To not celebrate each score?
VERY proud of the ladies for Romina and having fun on an international platform.
— whitnasty (@Whit_NotHouston) June 11, 2019
Goal differential is in play
And of course, there’s the indisputable point that World Cup teams are incentivized to score as many goals as possible with goal differential acting as a tiebreaker — though it’s an argument that doesn’t address the celebrations.
People really out here complaining that the USWNT ran up the score as if goal differential isn’t a thing. It’s the freakin World Cup.
— James Mauro (@JMauro28) June 11, 2019
One presidential candidate saw the controversy as an in to plant her flag on women’s issues.
Here's an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men's team.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 11, 2019
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