Thai-tans: ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’
Thailand produced the most emotional moment of the Women's Football World Cup in the early hours of Monday morning (AEST), sparking tears on the sideline even as it crashed to a 5-1 defeat against Sweden.
Thailand was thrashed 13-0 by America in its first match of the tournament and the US came under heavy fire for what some believed was over-the-top celebrating of goals when the result was already in the bag.
But none of those celebrations came close to matching the ecstasy in the Thailand camp when the South-East Asian team netted its first goal of the World Cup.
Sweden had dominated from the first whistle but down 4-0, Thailand scored against the run of play in the first minute of injury time.
Captain Kanjana Sung-Ngoen charged into the box and blasted past the goalkeeper at the near post, raising her arms in triumph.
On the Thailand bench the team's manager was crying, hugging head coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian and applauding the awesome moment. The rest of those on the sideline joined in and there were high-fives all around.
The goal was never going to change the result but that didn't matter to the players or fans. The team gathered together in a huddle in Sweden's half, wearing broad smiles and relishing the sweetest moment of their time in France as the Thai supporters who'd travelled to Nice roared with delight.
Even neutral supporters were swept up in the heart-melting scenes.
By letting in 18 goals in two games Thailand has equalled the record for most goals conceded at a World Cup, matching Argentina's effort in 2007, but that won't bother it because the country will exit the tournament with only one goal on its mind.
The win was Sweden's second in France after defeating Chile 2-0 in its first outing and the Scandinavians are assured of a berth in the round of 16.
AMERICAN'S CHEEKY RESPONSE TO CRITICISM
American football star Carli Lloyd issued a cheeky response to the haters after the US was criticised for its overly enthusiastic goal celebrations during its 13-0 thrashing of Thailand.
Former Canada representative Clare Rustad said the Americans lacked "humility" and "grace" while fellow Canadian star Kaylyn Kyle said she was "disgusted" by the way Team USA rubbed salt into Thailand's wound.
But the harsh words didn't resonate with America and Lloyd took the mickey when she opened the scoring after 11 minutes in her team's 3-0 win over Chile on Monday morning (AEST).
Lloyd attacked a loose ball in the area and struck it first time with her left foot as the ball curled away from the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Her teammates got around her and she raced over to the bench to continue the celebrations with the rest of the squad.
In what many on social media took as a retort to pundits who blasted America for getting too giddy when its score went into double digits against Thailand, Lloyd offered a muted, polite golf clap to ensure she wasn't accused of getting carried away.
Julie Ertz doubled the USA's advantage when she steered home a brilliant glancing header and Lloyd made it three goals inside 35 minutes when she powered a header of her own over the line.
It looked like the floodgates would open but to Chile's credit it showed plenty of fight in the second half to prevent the Americans from scoring again.
The 3-0 victory puts America top of Group F, above Sweden, while Chile is yet to pick up any points in France. The South Americans need a result against Thailand in their next game to stay in the running to be one of the best-performing third-placed finishers in their group who will be granted a place in the round of 16.