The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) defeated Thailand in a 13-0 blowout on Tuesday in their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup opener, and the team is getting criticized for running up the score and humiliating their vastly-overmatched opponents. But the team is defending the rout, as is at least one member of the defeated Thailand team, Yahoo Sports reports.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the American women were expected to soundly defeat the 34th-ranked Thai team. But the record-breaking 13-0 drubbing is being sharply criticized, with some commenters accusing the players and their coach of bad sportsmanship, among other misdeeds.
Not so fast, says coach Jill Ellis.
“This is a world championship.”
She also noted that telling her players to dial it back would have been bad sportsmanship, not the other way around. As a coach, she couldn’t do that as competing in the World Cup will obviously be the highlight of all of these women’s professional soccer careers.
“As a coach, I don’t find it my job to go and harness my players and reel them in because this is what they dreamt about,” she said.
Defender Kelley O’Hara also pointed out that there’s a practical reason for ending the game with a blowout score: the goal differential. For those not familiar, goal differential is a tie-breaking mechanism in place should two teams finish in the top of group play, a non-unlikely scenario that could see the U.S. and Sweden, the other Group F favorites, tied for first place at the end of group play. The goal differential could make the difference in who gets the better seed in the second round.
“At the end of the day, you can’t feel bad for scoring as many goals as possible,” said O’Hara.
At least one member of the Thai team also has the U.S. women’s backs. Thai-American striker Miranda Nild, who played on the University of California women’s soccer team, said that she and fellow U of C alum Alex Morgan shared a hug and some words of encouragement after the game.
“She said to keep my head up, and that this is only the first game. It was really sweet. We’re a developing program, we all know that. With this game under our belt, it will give us more knowledge going forward.”
When asked if she thought her American opponents were being poor sports, she simply answered, “no.”
The American women take on Chile in the second round of group play on Sunday, June 16, at 12 p.m. Eastern Time.