Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas says the US women are now bigger 'villains' with an even larger target on their backs after beating Thailand 13-0

FOXAlexi Lalas.

The United States Women’s National Team has been held to both praise and criticism after defeating Thailand, 13-0, on Tuesday in the team’s opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

The 13-0 score was the most lopsided match in men’s and women’s tournament history.

Some have criticised the team for running up the score and not playing keep away, while others have pointed out the importance of goal differential in the tournament.

Read more: Why the World Cup format encourages teams like Team USA to score as many goals as possible, even in a blowout

Discussions over the team’s celebrations and aggressive play against a mismatched Thailand team also made its way to FOX’s analyst desk. While sports commentator Rob Stone said the team should have eased up, the rest of the panel, made up of Kelly Smith, Heather O’Reilly, Ariane Hingst, and Alexi Lalas, soundly disagreed with him.

Lalas said he “has no problem with any of it.” He particularly disputed conversations of kids watching, saying that he hopes they were so they can learn to “not apologise for being good.”

Lalas did not that the Americans now have more pressure because of how they played.

“That target that they already had on their back as defending champions, that just got a whole lot bigger,” Lalas said. “They have now painted themselves as villains and as bullies. The only thing the world likes more than watching a bully get punched in the nose is watching an American bully get punched in the nose.”

“The US right now, with what they did last night and the behaviour last night, they have to win this World Cup.”

While Lalas did not disagree with the team’s celebration or goal-scoring, he did recognise the threat this brings to the US team going forward.

Team USA’s next match comes against Chile on Sunday.

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