New Zealand media under fire over response to women's football thrashing

After a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the United States, the NZ Football Ferns seemingly got away lightly in terms of criticism.

United States place Alex Morgan takes a photo with fans on the left, and a New Zealand and US player go for a header on the right.
New Zealand's Football Ferns were beaten 4-0 in an exhibition against the US Women's National Team last week in front of a sell-out crowd. Pictures: Getty Images

Should the performances of women's sports teams and individuals be as harshly critiqued, analysed criticised as their male counterparts? A well-known New Zealand media identity has jumped into the crocodile's jaws by suggesting the Kiwis women's football team escaped deep scrutiny after being thumped 4-0 by the US national side this week.

Martin Devlin, from online radio broadcaster The Platform, argued the Football Ferns would have copped a more severe lashing from the media had it been their male counterparts on the end of the loss.

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"In terms of actual ability, we are so far behind them (the US) as a team it’s not funny," Devlin said. "In the world of sport, we would call it men versus boys or in this case women versus girls.

"The United States are the most storied team in women’s football and I know that the mass sports media will tell you otherwise, but we aren’t actually that good. I want this team to succeed, I want them to play well, I want them to represent our country well and, most importantly, I want them to win.

"That (beating the US) is never going to happen. In terms of a contest, it wasn’t one and isn’t that what we're meant to be talking about – analysing, criticising the performance? Anything other than that is simply patronising."

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Devlin them let rip on the coverage of the game, accusing the host broadcaster of toning down the criticism and turning up the sycophancy. He described the Sky TV coverage as "nauseating".

Using a mocking, sing-songy "cute" voice, Devlin continued: "All they talk about is the crowd. How good is the crowd. It was such a sunny day. How good is it to see the girls out there expressing themselves.

"For F's sake, people. Would Sky TV or any of the mass sports media report on a game like this if it a men's side was playing? Like hell they would.

"I do remember (White Ferns cricket skipper) Sophie Devine saying after the team finished third in the Commonwealth Games that they want to be taking seriously and that means being analysed, criticised the same as the men.

''If they stink, she said, say it. Largely as a football team, we stink. Are they there to participate or are they there to compete?"

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