Another win, another controversy.
The USWNT beat England 2-1 yesterday to advance to the final of the World Cup on Sunday, where they will face the winner of today’s Sweden/Netherlands match. But before we allow ourselves to start thinking about that game and the myriad ways they could offend the world on Sunday, we’re here to discuss Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping celebration yesterday.
After nodding past English goalkeeper Carly Telford in the 31st minute to put the U.S. up by a goal, Morgan ran to the sideline and pretended to sip tea with her pinky finger up, an obvious reference to all the tea the Brits drink — which is almost 36 billion cups per year according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association. Morgan soon went viral, and the jokes and memes commenced, with many references to America’s historic defeat of the British back in 1776.
You know what was distasteful? The Stamp Act https://t.co/cUinC9eVO2
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) July 2, 2019
Alex Morgan at the Boston Tea Party, 1773. Oil on canvas. pic.twitter.com/rRUU8ASagd
— 🇺🇸🍊 (@johnstons08) July 2, 2019
And while U.S. fans were sipping it all up, some English fans were not as pleased with Morgan.
“You can celebrate however you want, but that for me is a bit distasteful,” said English footballer Lianne Sanderson, working as a pundit on beIN Sports. “I’m a big believer in the Americans and how they celebrate, but for me this was a little bit disrespectful.”
Piers Morgan’s Twitter was one long rant (what else is new?) about the USWNT and tweeted, “Come on @Lionesses – make these cocky yanks choke on it.”
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 2, 2019
After the game, Morgan said that the celebration was a response to the criticism her team has received during the tournament. Prior to the match, England’s coach had accused the U.S. of “spying”, after two U.S. representatives visited England’s hotel while looking for accommodations for the final.
“I wanted to keep it interesting,” Morgan told reporters. “I know Megan Rapinoe has the best celebration. I had to try and step up this game. I feel like this team has had so much thrown at them. I feel like we didn’t take an easy route through this tournament and ‘that’s the tea.’”
Obviously there has been much debate surrounding the U.S.’ goal celebrations, whether they are actually distasteful or if the controversy is only bubbling up because it’s women, not men, who are doing the celebrating.
You could argue that the celebrations late in a 13-0 win against Thailand were a bit much, sure, especially considering it was their opponents’ first ever World Cup appearance. But this was a semifinal match against another top-class side in England, and one that was tied until Morgan’s goal. England had plenty of time to get even and launch into a celebration of their own, which they thought they did when forward Ellen White scored in the second half. Fortunately for the U.S., that goal was later declared offside and overturned by video-assisted replay.
England had one more chance to equalize when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute. But the (admittedly very poor) shot was heroically stopped by U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
Morgan’s goal was her 6th of the tournament, keeping her in pole position to win the Golden Boot. It was also the goal that would ultimately advance the team to the World Cup final. And yesterday was her 30th birthday.
She can drink all the tea she wants.