Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian faces a huge task to lift her players out of the abyss after watching them crumble to a record 13-0 defeat against the United States in their opening women’s World Cup game in Reims yesterday (Thailand time).
TEARS…Morgan consoles distraught Thai striker Suchawadee Nildhamrong
Ten of the goals came in the second half as the defending champions set a new mark for the biggest winning margin in the women’s World Cup, bettering Germany’s 11-0 defeat of Argentina in 2007.
The Kingdom’s players trooped out past the cheering crowds at Stade Agust-Delaune in shame, some of the m bursting into tears after the most agonising loss of their careers.
“The atmosphere of the team is not so good,” Nuengrutai admitted later. “They were crying and were feeling low.”
164-cap veteran striker Alex Morgan scored five times, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted twice each while Lindsey Horan, skipper Megan Rapinoe and substitutes Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also found the net in the lopsided victory.
“I accept that we were not good enough and that the opponents were far more powerful. The players were really disappointed as they wanted to do better than this,” said Nuengrutai, who must figure out a way to restore the team’s pride in time for their second match with Olympic silver medallists Sweden on Sunday.
“This is a big lesson. The game taught us that we still have to work a lot harder in every way. The players must put this behind and move on as quick as possible,” Nuengrutai added.
National coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian
Team’s manager Nualphan Lamsam said she was prepared for defeat but did not expect it to be that big.
“We were torn apart. The players were intimidated and lost concentration after they lost three goals in seven minutes at the start of the second half. Our defence was in disarray,” said Nualphan, who is also the team’s main benefactor.
“It was tough for us as several of our players were injured while the US were at full strength. This loss affected the players tremendously.”
She said they needed to regroup and somehow find a way to bounce back in the two remaining games, including the Group F finale against Chile on June 20.
“We have to adjust the game plan urgently. We must use the best 11 players against Sweden. My sincere apology to the fans for letting them down,” Nualphan said.
Team’s manager Nualphan Lamsam
We respect everyone: skipper
United States captain Megan Rapinoe said hammering Thailand 13-0 in the Women’s World Cup was all “part of growing the game” after a win so lopsided there were suggestions they should have eased up to save the Thais from embarrassment.
Rapinoe scored the ninth goal for the title-holders, one of 10 in the second half as the USA surpassed the tournament record of 11-0, set by Germany against Argentina in 2007.
“We have the utmost respect for everyone we play but it’s the World Cup and that’s part of it. It’s part of growing the game. They’ll improve from here,” said Rapinoe.
Alex Morgan starred with five goals in the Group F opener in Reims, in Champagne country, as the USA pulverised a Thailand side playing at just their second World Cup.
This was always going to be a daunting challenge for the Chaba Kaew, who made it to France thanks to their run to the semi-finals at last year’s Asian Cup.
“There are some teams here that, since the last World Cup, have only played a handful of games, or only the qualifiers. It’s embarrassing for the federations, and for FIFA as well,” said Rapinoe as she reflected on the gulf between the world’s top sides and the rest.
Not that Thailand are necessarily minnows – they sit 34th in the FIFA rankings, higher than six other sides competing at this World Cup
One TV commentator said the win was so comprehensive that the USA should have stopped attacking late in the game but Rapinoe said the champions were delighted to now have the record for the biggest World Cup win and to make a statement as they go in search of their fourth world title.
“I was hoping we’d beat Germany! I had that in mind,” she joked.
“We always want to have any world record and anything we can get over the Germans, we’ll take it.
Mewis, whose two goals came on her World Cup finals debut, added: “We need to keep our feet on the ground and I think we will, but I do think that we created a lot of good energy and that’s something that can help carry us forward.”