Wednesday 21 August 2019

Livid Morgan hits back after storm in a tea cup

US star slams insulting 'double standards' over misinterpretation of goal celebration

USA’s Alex Morgan celebrates scoring her side’s second goal
against England. Photo: PA
USA’s Alex Morgan celebrates scoring her side’s second goal against England. Photo: PA

Luke Edwards

Alex Morgan has expressed her anger over the criticism of her "sipping a cup of tea" goal celebration against England by pointing out that male footballers can grab their genitals and get away with it when they score goals.

Morgan was accused of "disrespecting" England when she made the gesture after putting the United States 2-1 ahead in their World Cup semi-final, but has denied it was meant to offend her opponents.

Instead, Morgan claimed it was meant as a tribute to the phrase "that's the tea", slang for gossip or interesting news, frequently used on social media by 'Game of Thrones' actress Sophie Turner.

Morgan, who is the tournament's joint leading goalscorer with six goals alongside England's Ellen White, feels the scandal is an insulting example of double standards.

Asked about the celebration and the reaction to it, Morgan replied: "There are two things; my celebration was actually 'that's the tea', which is telling a story, it was spreading the news. Sophie Turner does it quite often and she is one of my favourite actresses, so it wasn't to hit England in any way.

"Secondly, I feel that there is some sort of double standard in that females in sport feel like we have to be humble in our successes, to not celebrate too much, that we have to do something, but it always had to be in a limited fashion.

"You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is, and when I sip a cup of tea... I'm a little taken aback by the reaction. You have to laugh when you see all the criticism, so I'm a little disappointed in that," Morgan added. The 30-year-old also chastised her former club team-mate, England international Lianne Sanderson, who had publicly accused her of disrespecting England's players on Tuesday night.

"We were team-mates at Orlando Pride," she added. "I played with Lianne [Sanderson]... I have respect for all the team-mates I've played with. It's a bit disappointing to see that [as well]."

The US will be strong favourites to beat Holland tomorrow, but Morgan is wary of the European champions as she prepares to play in her third successive final.

"We haven't played the Dutch in a while, but I've been watching them throughout this tournament. They are a quality team.

"We have that mentality and that fitness to recover and go again every three days in this tournament. The Dutch have a team that is pretty young, but also pretty experienced.

"It's admirable the way they play. It will be a quality match, they want to move the ball around, they want to play football."

Meanwhile, Dutch defender Dominique Bloodworth knows she will end up making half of her family disappointed if her team win tomorrow's final.

The 24-year-old, who signed for Wolfsburg after leaving Arsenal, is married to Brandon, who served in the American military. Her husband, whom she met in London while playing for the Gunners, has travelled out to France, while the defender's in-laws are set to tune in to watch the final from California.

Bloodworth, who was part of the Holland squad which won Euro 2017 on home soil, got married last year - and hopes to be able to have some bragging rights after the showpiece final in Lyon.

"I know that they follow all our matches live in America, they are very much a fan of the Netherlands," Bloodworth said.

"If there is actually work to be done, my in-laws in California will close the office so that they can watch us (on television).

"I hope we can show them something nice again on Sunday. My husband said: 'Secretly, I'm going to cheer a little more for the Netherlands'. He is very proud."

FIFA Women's World Cup final,

Live, RTÉ 2/BBC 1, 4.0 tomorrow

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