At the women’s 2019 FIFA World Cup in France, the United States did a New Zealand on tiny Thailand, defeating the Thai women 13 – nil.
For those wondering what we mean by doing a New Zealand, we are referring to the Kiwis sledging a Japanese side 70 – 0 a couple, or was it three, years ago.
While we realise that total goals matter in the group stage of the FIFA tournament, was it really necessary to score 13 against a helpless opponent?
The U.S. has Sweden and Chile in its Group F and could probably forfeit its next Group matches and still move on.
Which begs the question.
Is international competition still relevant?
We do not have confirmation, but it is quite possible that one or more of the Thai players has connections to U.S. women’s professional or collegiate football.
A few of the older crowd will recall the 1992 Olympic Games, when the U.S., tired of having its amateur college boys shredded by professionals from Europe, some of whom went to U.S. colleges and played in the NBA, sent an All-Star squad of the top NBA players to compete against the experienced professionals of the other countries.
The FIFA 2018 Men’s World Cup offered a similar scenario, with players from all over the world claiming connections to countries where they could be selected.
At least the Olympic Games finally came to the reality that trying to restrict participation to athletes that could prove maintenance of amateur status was at best farcical.
The other question that needs to be asked is why does FIFA set up its tournament to permit such lopsided matchups.
The answer is simple. Money.
How much money is uncertain. It is hard to imagine anyone other than families and friends buying tickets to watch the Thai women play a match that had the same prospective outcome as the Titanic versus the iceberg, but we suppose someone could say that the Thais had a snowball’s chance.