The Women’s World Cup is off to a great start for most teams. The first round of group stage matches is over, and the second round has begun. To be honest, there really haven’t been any major upsets, or really any upsets in the first round at all. (Though, congratulations are definitely in order for Argentina picking up their first ever Women’s World Cup point, and for Thembi Kgatlana for scoring South Africa’s first ever Women’s World Cup goal against Spain.) France, Germany, Brazil, England, Holland, and the US are all at the top of their respective brackets. I know in my last piece, I pointed out that Megan Rapinoe, Kadidiatou Diani, and Amanda Sampedro were my women to watch, but I might need to change those first two. Rose Lavelle (USA), and Wendie Renard (France) made themselves well known in their first round games.
Also in my last piece, I mentioned my bias toward the US Women’s National Team. That reminder given, I want to talk about the US game against Thailand. Going in, everyone knew that this was going to be a one-sided game and the difference between the two was quickly evident. The US scored three goals within the first half of the game, and then unleashed something spectacular in the second half by scoring TEN. Yes, ten. They broke the US record for most goals in a World Cup game, and the record for the highest scoring World Cup game – both men’s and women’s.
However, that wasn’t what the post-game rhetoric was about. The majority of the commentary came down to the celebration of those prolific goals.
Here’s the deal: This is the World Cup. You celebrate every goal scored, regardless of if it is the first goal or the 15th. These are the group stages, you don’t hold back — espcially when you’re someone like Mallory Pugh who came off the bench in her first World Cup game to score her first goal, and especially when you’re Carli Lloyd and you score the first goal of what will probably be your last World Cup. Instinct in athletes at that level is to celebrate their achievement. What people have to keep in mind is that Chile and Sweden are both facing Thailand as well. If the US can score thirteen, it is not unthinkable that either of those can do the same. The goal is always to win the group, and goal differential can make all of the difference in the world. To hold back, to toy with Thailand and play keep away — now that would’ve been disrespectful.
To those that say that it fuels the fire against the US, honestly, I kind of hope it does. The US are out to win. Tough games may give me heart palpitations, but those are the exciting ones to watch. I hope Thailand takes this as motivation to come back more fierce next time around.
I do want to take a second and point out that the score could’ve been much worse. Thailand’s defense came in clutch for them a few times. There are good foundations there for them to continue to build on. I hope it fuels a fire under the teams that are here for their first time to play hard and to train harder.