Europeans make World Cup arrivals with thrashings
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Top-ranked Germany announced their arrival at the Women's World Cup on Sunday by handing out a near-record 10-0 thrashing to Ivory Coast that underlined the gulf between the heavyweights and emerging teams.
For the first time, the World Cup has been expanded to 24 sides from 16, which opens up the tournament to newcomers like Thailand and Ivory Coast.
Governing body FIFA says this reflects the increasing strength of women's soccer but the debutantes learned on Sunday just how far behind they still are.
Germany's victory in their Group B opener, which featured hat-tricks from Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag, was the second biggest win in tournament history.
Norway earlier overwhelmed Thailand 4-0 in a one-sided triumph that should have been much bigger.
Ivory Coast had keeper Dominique Thiamale to thank for avoiding an even heavier defeat.
"We had judged them to be a better team than they were today ... I'd never have thought we'd win 10-0," said German coach Silvia Neid.
The biggest defeat in Women's World Cup history came in 2007, when Germany beat Argentina 11-0. Continued...