The United States women’s national team opened up their World Cup appearance with a record-setting 13-0 win over Thailand. The score set up a world cup record for the largest margin of a victory in a soccer match. The margin of victory is an evidence about the state of women’s sports all over the globe. It desperately needs more funding and recreation.
“The score sends a message to FIFA that it needs to reinforce for its member-countries that subsidising women’s sport is a priority,” Lebowitz said. He is is the executive director of the centre for the study of sport in society at Northeastern University.
It’s a wakeup call for equality all around the world and women empowerment needs to be taken seriously. This kind of score differential wouldn’t happen if there are better feeder systems around the globe.
It is perhaps worth noting that neither 7-0, nor 8-0, nor 9-0 would have been record-breaking scores. Before Tuesday’s game, the World Cup record for margin of victory was set by Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in the 2007 Women’s World Cup. In football, you need to keep scoring because if it comes down to tie in the points table, the team with the greater goal difference goes ahead. The US team had to score.
For Lebowitz, the controversy is indicative of a broader, societal problem: resistance to gender equality. He contrasted the treatment of the US women’s soccer team to that of the 1992 US men’s Olympic basketball team. When it comes to men’s sports everyone wants them to do the best, everyone cheers for them but when a women’s team does the same people start talking. Both teams were dominant in their fields. Both teams included an all-star roster of athletes. Both teams beat their opponents. And yet, only one team is being pilloried for doing so, Lebowitz said. The US men’s Olympic basketball team was nicknamed “The Dream Team,” and roundly cheered by fans and reporters alike.
In 2012 Olympics, the men’s basketball team beat Nigerian team 156 to 73. There wasn’t a single person criticising the US team for defeating their opponents as they hit rock bottom. “Everyone was bowing down to the Dream Team of men’s basketball in 1992,” Lebowitz said. “All of a sudden, women do it, and it’s a major problem. What we’re seeing here is the truth of how we allow negative narratives about women to gain unbelievable momentum.”
It is about time we start paying attention to uplifting women’s sports and giving them equal respect which they rightfully deserve.