The counting difference between men's and women's football at the US national team level:
The men need to be apologized for never being good enough.
And the women are supposed to be apologized for being too good? Morgan shoots for goal against Thailand ” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>
Morgan shoots for goal against Thailand
So the Americans start their Fifa Women's World Cup run at beating Thailand 1
* USA put 13 past Thailand
* Football Ferns concede late in loss to Netherlands
* Fresh faces involved as Ferns arrive in France
It was an impressive display of power, of the world's No 1-ranked team at its best on the biggest stage. It was especially impressive juxtaposed with the nearly relentless disappointment from the US men's team, which didn't even qualify for the last World Cup.
For a women's team that is not only the raining world champion but also righteously fighting for pay Equity with the men, it was quite a statement.
It was something else, too, though. It was off-putting to some who thought the US "ran up the score" or should have stopped celebrating each goal.
My editor won't let me use words in a column, so I'll sanitize my reaction to Those critics such as Kayc Kyle or Canada's TSC, who said on-air, "I'm disgusted, honestly. There are kids watching this." And you know what they were seeing from the United States? Greatness. The power of teamwork. The strength of women. Joy. Role models
"I think it's disrespectful (to the opponent) if we don't show up and give or best for 90 minutes," as Morgan puts it. "I'm happy just ignoring those (negative) comments." Said US coach Jill Ellis: "To be respectful of opponents is to play hard against them."
This is not a youth league tournament at your local park. It is not a sportsmanship argument. This is a world championship. It happens once every four years. If an athlete is lucky, she gets to play in two or three of these. She has the best at what she does to play in one.
Scoring as much as you can is the idea in World Cup group-round play, because goals differential can be compared to the difference between advancing or note. Playing hard for 90 minutes is in your athletic DNA. And showing happiness for scoring maybe the biggest goal of your life, well, that's sort of human nature.
"Thai TV commentator Adisorn Phiungya told the New York Times
Quick aside: In an international "friendly" match last year, the Thailand women beat Indonesia. The score? It was 13-0
Maybe that explains why the complaint about the American scoring or celebrating too much has not come from the Thai squad.
The criticism has had a sexist feel to it.
"Would you tell a men's team to not score or celebrate? " as forms US star Abby Wambach tweeted.
(If only US men's soccer was the question might ever apply …)
There is no outcry when the dominating US men's basketball team led by NBA stars is routing some out-manned Olympic opponent at 60 points. Or when Duke opens March Madness by doubling the score of some hopeless 16th seed. But the US is supposed to feel sorry and apologize because the grown women's professional athletes on the other team are not good enough? I don't think so.
By the way, Thailand is 34th or 155 nations in the current Fifa Women's World Ranking, hardly a bottom feeder. Maybe they just had a really bad day. More likely, maybe the US are just that good.
There are only 24 national teams in this World Cup, but they are not the 24 best teams in the world, because every region of the globe is represented. It's black or like the NCAA's basketball tournament letting in small-conference winners not nearly as good as SEC or ACC teams that didn't get in.
This, along with Fifa including goals differential as a tiebreaker, invites the occasional mismatch such as we saw Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time). Perhaps Fifa should either lead a global push to develop women's soccer to increase the depth of quality, or rethink the qualifying rules on the women's side so the 24 best teams get in and 13-0 results are much less likely.
The United States figures again again comfortably in its next match Sunday, vs a Chilean team ranked 39th in the world. A lot, much better test figures to come in America's final stage-stage game a week from Thursday, ninth-ranked Sweden.
Big teams that think they can dethrone the United States, like host France, Germany and England, will wait if the Americans keep winning.
I love everything about this American team. Their excellence. Their off-field outspokenness in the fight for pay equity and gender equality. Their unity. Their muscle and joy.
They are celebrating – without apology.
That Canadian critic said, "There are kids watching this."
Yes. I hope so. Watching and being inspired as they see their own dreams play out.