US women's soccer team slammed for 'unsporting' and 'disgusting' celebrations during 13-0 World Cup win against Thailand
The US women's soccer team has now been slammed on social media after they were seen celebrating wildly for every goal that they scored in their 13-0 win against first-timers Thailand. The favorites of the Women's World Cup thrashed the Thai team in Reims, France, on Tuesday night. They were seen reacting to every goal scored as if it was their first. The substitutes of the team were also seen joining arms and jumping up and down with smiles on their faces while their Thai counterparts were left in tears.
Commentators, as well as fans, erupted on Twitter about the celebrations as unsporting and even "disgusting". Former Canada players Clare Rustad and Kaylyn Kyle slammed the team on Canadian sports channel TSN. Rustad said: "I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn't manage to do that. Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary. What is this?"
Kyle agreed with her former teammate by saying: "They're the No. 1 team in the world and for me, I'm disgusted, honestly." Fans also made their disgust known on Twitter. One wrote: "I understand running up the score for goal difference but no need to celebrate every single goal like classless jerks." Another added: "Ok settle down USA... you're up 11-0 against Thailand."
Many fans disagreed with these statements, however, and said that the criticism of the women for their celebration was sexist. Former US player Abby Wambach said: "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. 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?"
The Americans led 3-0 at the break and then broke the match open in the second half, with the players celebrating goal after goal. "[We] meant no disrespect," said Alex Morgan (the US football player who scored the most goals), "But we simply wanted to position themselves for a run at a second consecutive title. We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves. Every goal matters in this tournament and that's what we were working on."
Asked about the lopsided score, U.S. coach Jill Ellis wondered if a 10-0 victory in a men's World Cup would elicit the same questions. "This is a world championship, so every team here has been fantastic to get to this point. And I think that to be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents, and as Alex said, it's a tournament where goal differential is important," Ellis said.
The two teams were the last to kick off in the group stage for the monthlong tournament. Host France opened the World Cup before a sellout crowd in Paris on Friday night with a 4-0 victory over South Korea. Ranked No. 1 in the world, the Americans had dropped only one match in their previous 38, a loss to France in Le Havre in January. The team was 7-1-2 overall this year, with six straight wins going into the World Cup.
The World Cup comes at a time when female players across the globe are seeking better treatment, conditions and pay. The US national team has long championed equal rights, and players collectively filed a lawsuit earlier this year that alleges discrimination by the US Soccer Federation and are seeking pay equitable with that of the men's national team. The players say the lawsuit is on hold while they're in France. But a pair of prominent well-wishers on Twitter referenced the team's pursuit of equality.
"The @USWNT is something to smile about. It was great to celebrate with them back in 2015 and I'm excited to root them on in their drive to earn their fourth star. Best of luck to these champions for equality, on and off the field," wrote former president Barack Obama.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King weighed in: "The pursuit of a record 4th World Cup trophy for the #USWNT officially begins today, but the journey has been years in the making. You have the support of a nation behind you. Get that win, and then get the equal pay you deserve!"
With AP inputs.