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U.S. writer calls New Zealand soccer team ‘cockroaches’ ahead of World Cup match

A history of the USWNT in the World Cup

The USWNT has the most World Cup titles in women's history. If they win this year, they'll be the first women's team to win back-to-back World Cups.
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The USWNT has the most World Cup titles in women's history. If they win this year, they'll be the first women's team to win back-to-back World Cups.

The New Zealand Football Ferns began their World Cup experience in the shadow of a biting Deadspin article that railed on the team’s ‘mediocrity.’

“New Zealand are the cockroaches of women’s international soccer—they’re always around,” Lauren Theisen wrote, claiming the team has an easier path to the World Cup because of their location. “They beat up on the even tinier nations around them.”

As the article’s headline admits, the New Zealand team has “been through hell.” In June 2018, women’s team coach Andreas Heraf resigned after several team members claimed he perpetuated a culture of intimidation and bullying, ESPN reported.

But in their six months with ex-USA coach Tom Sermanni at the helm, the team has managed impressive victories over teams that include Argentina, Mexico and Norway, as well as their first-ever win over England, News Now reported.

Neither the Ferns nor fans are taking Theisen’s comments lying down.

It was pretty scathing on the girls,” former Ferns captain Maia Jackman said, according to Newshub. “If I’m going to take anything from it, the girls will be cockroaches and be annoying and get in the faces of other teams.”

Several Twitter users jumped to the team’s defense, one calling Theisen “barely even a writer.” Others suggested the comments could be great fuel for the team.

Still, Theisen praised the team for never dropping below rank 24, but not without a barb.

“The problem, though, is that they’ve also never been higher than 16th,” she wrote.

The Football Ferns narrowly lost their match against team Netherlands on Tuesday, 0-1, and will face Canada on Saturday.

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Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.
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