Not only did they run it up to an absurd outcome (13-0), say critics, but they danced their way through it, celebrating after most goals. At what point is an opponent sufficiently beaten and even humiliated that mercy can be shown?
The answer is: Never, bro. This is Trump’s America now. The cruelty is the point.
Of course the g-ddamned Canadians are offended:
We shall abide no lectures about sportsmanship from a garbage people who, not 48 hours ago, were cheering Kevin Durant’s crippling Achilles injury because they thought it meant a championship for their team.
But putting that aside, 13-0 *is* excessive, right? Actually, say soccer aficionados, the score is less problematic than the recurring celebrations after each goal. After all, arguably it’s more insulting to your opponent to ease up and treat them as if they’re a kiddie squad than to play at your best on the assumption that they’re equal to that challenge. “To be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents,” said U.S. coach Jill Ellis afterward. “I don’t find it my job to harness my players and rein them in because this is what they dreamt about. This is it for them. This is a world championship.”
They’re the elite of the elite, tapped to play in the World Cup before a global audience, and they’re supposed to go at half-speed for fear of making their opponents sad?
There’s a strategic reason too to run up the score, notes SI:
Ten of those goals came in the second half. And when the U.S. was up 7-0, coach Jill Ellis decided to bring on Lloyd and Christen Press and put the U.S. in a rarely seen four-player front line with Morgan and Rapinoe. In other words, we were seeing Extreme Attack Mode. Historically Extreme Attack Mode.
But did the Americans really need to score 13 times? Well, yes, they did. The first tiebreaker in the group stage standings is goal-difference, and it seems likely that both the U.S. and Sweden will be on six points when they meet each other in the group-stage finale on June 20.
If the U.S. and Sweden each win their first two matches and then draw when they play each other, goal differential will decide who wins the group and earns a weaker opponent in the first knockout round. That is, the tournament incentivizes you to run up the score. If FIFA wants to eliminate that incentive it should make “fewest goals allowed” the tiebreaker in the group stage.
But the incessant celebrating? That was just pure Trumpy swagger. They might as well have stopped to tweet after each goal that Thailand’s goalkeeper was “a total loser” and looked “sleepy” in net. Sad!