T Nation

USA Women's Soccer World Cup

Just an observation from watching the news today: pundits are attacking the USA Woman’s soccer team for “running up the score” 13:0 and celebrating the win against Thailand.


I have some news for Americans, as an Israeli: anything the USA woman’s team could have done would have been wrong because most of the world loves hating on the USA because most of the world is made of up of jealous assholes.

If they didn’t “run up the score”, the USA team would have been attacked as “over-confident” and “so dismissive” and “disrespectful” of Thailand that they didn’t bother to bring their A game. (It would have also been bad football; there is no mercy rule because score differential is used to move up the brackets.)

If they didn’t celebrate, the USA team would have been attacked as “bored” and “condescending” or whatever.

I just share this because whatever Israel does (good or bad) is also always wrong to this same crew of professional haters, and I have learned to ignore them when they talk about Israel.

But, for whatever reason, these putzes really pissed me off when talking about Team USA.

And, finally, and most importantly, Israel did not qualify this year.

But we will next year. And we will totally kick your ass.


Without touching the geopolitical issues of how countries feel about one another…I also find the criticism for running up the score silly, for two reasons.

  1. this is the World Cup. It’s not a high school soccer game. While the degree to which women’s soccer players are full professionals is admittedly variable around the world, the players all know that they’re competing on the world stage, and should expect that each team is doing the utmost to win not just that game, but the Cup itself, which brings us to…

  2. …the goal differential tiebreaker. The US is trying to put itself in the best possible position for the next round. GD will be the tiebreaker if they end up tied with one of the other teams in the group, which could make a difference in whether they advance at all or who they get paired with if they do advance. Starting with a +13 may be important - if they’d slowed up and coasted to a 7-0 win, they might be kicking themselves if one of the other teams in the group won 9-0 against Thailand and they ended up tied in the final standings.

In a vacuum, sure, taking their foot off the gas with a 7-0 lead would have been nice. But, if sportsmanship is that big of a concern at this level, put a cap on the goal differential from a single game that counts towards the tiebreaker. Otherwise, don’t blame teams for continuing to score if that’s what will put them in the best possible position to win the Cup.

Oh, also, pearl-clutching about them celebrating is equally ridiculous. If I scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl up 42-0, I’m still celebrating - I just scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl!


was going to say this. This is supposed to be the creme de la creme of women’s soccer. Compete if you can. Suffer if you can’t.

and this point:

just illustrates the ignorance to the rules that the author of this shit article has towards the actual rules of the tourney. Why are you writing an article about something you have a seemingly superficial understanding of? It’s not a one game tourney and the rules can get a bit more complex than just winning percentage…

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Eh, this happens all over the place, in and out of sports. Sad but true.

It is impossible to believe that a sports writer, in England, does not know the rules of the Football World Cup. Everyone knows there is no mercy rule.

Hence this being an obvious let’s-just-bash-the-USA because piece.

Weird…then again…this is the daily fail here…so yeah!

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Yeah, but this is happening elsewhere, too. Hell, there are plenty of US sportswriters / talking heads pulling out the sportsmanship card here, either unaware of how the rules in WC work or thinking that not-hurting-opponents-feelings-too-much should matter more than putting the team in the best position to win, again, at the World Cup.

Tangent: I played a bunch of sports in my life, including college football (American football), and “running up the score” discussions are a weird fascination of mine. Invariably, in some random high school or Division 3 football game, a top-level team beats a bottom-feeding team like 69-0 and the “sportsmanship police” come out to lecture. When you read the box score, sometimes you’ll even see that the team pulled their starters in the second quarter, didn’t throw a pass after halftime, and that the last five touchdowns were scored by third and fourth-stringers…but do the sportsmanship police ever bother to learn such details? No!

Hell, since I can’t resist Uncle Rico-ing a little bit, my alma mater won the state championship in 2012 with a team led by a current NFL player and a slew of “very good high school players” that poked around small college ball like me (we’re a small public school, so this isn’t on the level of “Texas teams that have eight guys with Division 1 offers” stuff you’ll see on TV). In the middle of the season, they played the perennial bottom feeder of our league, a team that went 0-9 and wasn’t even close to competing with the second-worst team in the league. My alma mater won 70-13. They threw a total of five passes in the game; the starters were out of the game in the second quarter; no starting running back had more than four carries; by the end of the game, fourteen different players had carried the ball (on a team with 35 guys, so that’s just about every healthy running back / receiver on the roster); eight different players scored touchdowns; by the end, they were about ready to put the waterboy and cheerleaders in for a turn. The local sportswriter, to his credit, is a really good guy who knows all the coaches (for all the area teams) well and was pretty reasonable about it all, but some of the local yokels couldn’t help but leave nasty comments on the newspaper article about how the good team was so mean to score 70 points on such a helpless opponent. The only way it could’ve been less would be a) not even sending the starters to the game or b) just outright quitting on the field - taking a knee or punting on first down - both of which are far more embarrassing (IMO) than what actually happened.

TL;DR, a lot of times people crowing about running up the score are not actually looking at the entire picture, they just see a big number and think the winning team was unsportsmanlike for running it up.

EDIT: here’s a good example from Division III football. St. John’s (MN), a perennial power, beat St. Scholastica 98-0 in the season opener last year. Crime against sportsmanship, right? But then you read the box score:

Fourteen different guys carried the ball, ten different guys caught a pass, three different guys played QB. SJU didn’t try to run it up, but CSS couldn’t stop the second, third, fourth, or fifth stringers. The only way to have the score lower is even more embarrassing - either just start taking knees, or calling the game entirely.

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I have 100% support for Germany, and Germany only…no offense @Jewbacca . I want to work a WWII joke in here somehow but I’m not sure how.

Nothing wrong with supporting one’s own team.

And, yes, too soon for a WWII reference. Takes about 2,000 years for that kind of thing.

And on a total tangent, that reminds me of a Passover many years ago in Brookline, MA when I was in school. Lived in a 3 story brownstone, apartment each floor. We were on the 3rd floor. The first floor was Coptic Egyptian guys, medical students.

They saw us getting ready for Passover; thought it was a normal party (lots of wine). Told them what it was, invited them to join. They started laughing and said (something to the effect of) “Fuck no, Passover ended badly for Egyptians.” And then they each proceeded to figure out who was a first born, telling the buddies that were firstborns that they were screwed.

So that was ~3500 years later. Anyway, the joke needs to wait about that long.


Not from Germany, just have lived there at two seperate times in my life.

And ok, I’ll hold off on that joke. That story is pretty hilarious though.

Going back to the main article and touching on what you wrote here regarding points that are overlooked and what can amount to worse optics than “running up the score”:

I’m sure the Thai team are full of Thailand’s most competitive female soccer players. I’m sure they were also well aware of the talent disparity between their team and the US team. I’d be willing to be they are not embarrassed or feel insulted by the score - they WOULD be embarrassed or insulted had the US team not given them their best. That’s insulting to competitive people, not losing by a wide margin - especially on a world stage. There would be no way to accurately measure for the Thai team in what ways they need to improve to be competitive if the US team had pulled their punches so to speak.

The Thai team wants to be better and the way to do that is to play a team who’s playing at their best and see where they failed.

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Meh. I’m the grandson of a survivor and I wear my “Back to Back World War Champions” tank every fourth of July.

Back on topic. Am I the only one who started craving an Arby’s roast beef sandwich when they showed Hope Solo leering down from the stands?


I heard all of this stuff this morning on the radio. It brought back memories of McGuffy handing out awards and plaques for their 100th win to their wrestlers Before the matches.

Arrogant Americans at their finest moment.

Ok. Let’s bring it back to reality please:

  • First, Women’s World Cup is a joke. There’s maybe 4 or 5 viable teams at any given tournament. 90% of the teams have little to no infrastructure or support in their countries.

  • Second, the celebrations were outrageous. They should have at least stopped celebrating after the 5th goal. Germany Vs Brazil in the infamous 7-1 you SAW the coach of Germany tell his players to not celebrate, and they stopped. That’s being respectful while still scoring goals.

  • What did the woman’s coach do after 4 goals? She started to put 4 attacking forwards, like wtf? They never run such an aggressive formation, this was tasteless. This nonsense of “goal differential” what fucking goal differential? They’re the best fucking team by a large margin, they’ll make the semifinals at worst and that’s only if they somehow blow it in a monumental collapse, it won’t matter who they fucking play.

  • The best part was the post game interview with the coach “would you ask men this same question?” Yeah you dumb bitch we do, constantly, constantly people talk about this in blowout college football games. And again, look at the blowout soccer mens games and how they tend to react after the score goes too high. What a fucking ridiculous thing to say but this is feminism and feminism does this to peoples minds. Everything is a gender issue now.

  • Absolutely classless display by the U.S womens team, especially after their comical bullshit trying to sue the federation that supports them, supports them more than any other country on the planet for a women’s sport no one cares to watch outside of the World Cup (even then people tend to not care). A sport that the men’s team subsidizes them for years and years and they still cry because ‘we weeemen we need to be paid more just because’

What a joke.

It really is just a mystery how you’re frustrated by an inability to connect and forge meaningful relationships with women. I wonder if we’ll ever crack that one.

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lol here we go.

I’m sorry you can’t score any pussy. Must be frustrating.

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hahahahaha. god its cliche at this point.

“bro, you don’t like womens soccer? you must not get pussy”

meanwhile same guy that says that also doesn’t watch.

Everyone be mindful of the takes here, those fuckers will burn you if you get too close.

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