Alex Morgan (2nd right) celebrated her five-goal haul with Megan Rapinoe
Paris (AFP) - Holders the United States began their defence of the women’s World Cup by crushing Thailand 13-0 but their joyous celebrations of the tournament’s record win triggered a backlash on Wednesday.
The US team scored 10 goals in the second half in Reims on Tuesday as they bettered Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007 and shattered their own previous tournament best of 7-0.
American star Alex Morgan grabbed five goals while Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted twice each and Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also got on the scoresheet in the Group F encounter watched by more than 18,000.
But the Americans’ wild goal celebrations in such a one-sided game were not to everyone’s taste.
Former Canadian international player Kaylyn Kyle, working as an analyst for Canada’s TSN at the tournament, said on air: “As a Canadian we would just never ever think of doing something like that … For me it’s disrespectful, it’s disgraceful.”
- ‘Classless winners’ -
Kyle said later on social media she had received death threats for her comments, but repeated that she felt the Americans’ celebrations were “excessive and disrespectful”.
Many Twitter users also criticised the show of joy with the hashtag “UglyAmericans”.
“A classless winner is worse than a sore loser, regardless of gender,” said one tweet.
USA Today columnist Nancy Armour was unapologetic.
“Take the pearl clutching and righteous indignation somewhere else. This is the World Cup, not a rec league tournament,” she wrote.
The Americans' exuberant celebrations were criticised in some quarters
USA coach Jill Ellis hit back at suggestions her players could have eased up and spared 34th-ranked Thailand complete humiliation.
“This is a world championship so every team that is here has been fantastic to get to this point. To be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents,” Ellis said.
Captain Megan Rapinoe said her team had been overjoyed at setting the record score but insisted they did respect all their opponents.
“We always want to have any world record and anything we can get over the Germans, we’ll take it,” Rapinoe said. “Obviously we have the utmost respect for everyone we play, but it’s the World Cup.”
Thailand’s deflated coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien said she had no excuses, adding: “We accept that they are better.”
- Powerful message -
France will have paid attention to the Americans’ powerful performance as the host nation could well meet them in a quarter-final in Paris.
The French side return to action on Wednesday against Norway, who like France comfortably won their opening match.
France coach Corinne Diacre
The hosts, coached by Corinne Diacre, cruised to a 4-0 win over South Korea in their first outing last Friday and are hoping to build on that against the Norwegians in Nice at 1900 GMT in one of 13 sold-out games in the tournament so far.
The Norwegians are without world player of the year Ada Hegerberg who refuses to play for her country because she says her national federation does not take the women’s team seriously.
Norway’s Scandinavian neighbours Sweden started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Chile in Rennes on Tuesday in a match that was held up by a violent storm.
The players went off for around 40 minutes in the second half with the game goalless before Sweden secured victory thanks to late goals by Kosovare Asllani and substitute Madelen Janogy.
Sweden face the hapless Thais next in Group F, while Chile are the next to face the US firepower on Sunday.
European champions the Netherlands beat New Zealand 1-0 in Le Havre in Group E on Tuesday thanks to a Jill Roord goal in stoppage time.
Germany's Dzsenifer Marozsan (L) might miss the rest of the World Cup after suffering a broken toe against China
Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg revealed that star player Dzsenifer Marozsan may miss the rest of the tournament after being ruled out of Wednesday’s Group B clash with Spain (1600 GMT) because of a broken toe.
“We will try to get her back on the pitch before the end of the tournament, but we can’t make any predictions,” said Voss-Tecklenburg, who described the 27 year-old as “irreplaceable”.
Nigeria and South Korea clash in Grenoble on Wednesday (1300 GMT) with both looking to bounce back from their opening defeats.