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A Tale of Two Anthems: A Sharp Contrast Emerges in Women’s World Cup Opener


Friday marked the much-anticipated kickoff of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. As expected, the US women’s national soccer team (USWNT) brought their characteristic dominance to the field, but once again, it wasn’t their performance during the game that caught the attention of spectators.

A trend is emerging with our renowned team: the stirring controversies that accompany the ceremonial playing of the national anthem are almost eclipsing the games themselves. While these incidents aren’t protests per se, the lackluster patriotism displayed by the players has reignited the heated discussions surrounding anthem etiquette.

Before their game against Vietnam, the USWNT stood at attention for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And that was essentially it – no more, no less. To the casual observer, the team’s solemn stillness might seem like business as usual. However, the stark contrast between the USWNT’s restrained approach and Vietnam’s passionate display was hard to ignore.

Most of the Vietnamese players sang their national anthem, “Tiến Quân Ca” or “Song of a Marching Army,” with hands earnestly placed over their hearts. It was a scene of poignant patriotism that made the American team’s static stance all the more noticeable.

Some might argue there’s no harm in this difference, but it’s hard not to see it as a glaring omission in an event where patriotism should be front and center. It’s not about picking apart every detail but acknowledging that in such a grand international platform, these small gestures matter.

The USWNT’s relationship with the national anthem has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Just three years ago, in 2020, the team used “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a platform to protest pay disparities. This rebellious streak, while not apparent during this particular game, has placed the team under a harsher microscope, making even subtle displays (or lack thereof) of patriotism subject to intense scrutiny.

Further adding to the controversy is the team’s outgoing star, Megan Rapinoe. Known for her outspoken support of left-leaning causes, Rapinoe has been a frequent target of criticism and has arguably contributed to the heightened focus on the team’s demeanor during the national anthem.

As for the game itself, the USWNT lived up to their reputation, decisively defeating Vietnam 3-0. With their eyes firmly set on the championship, the team is all set to face off against the Netherlands next Wednesday.

Let’s hope that as the competition progresses, our women’s team can strike a balance between advocating for their beliefs and showing due respect for the country they’re privileged to represent on the global stage. After all, in the theatre of sports, every act is under the spotlight.

Alexandra Russel
Alexandra Russel
Highly respected journalist and political commentator with over a decade of experience in the industry. Alex was born and raised in Florida, where she developed a passion for writing at a young age, leading her to pursue a degree in journalism from the University of Florida. After graduation, she worked as a political reporter for several local and national publications before being appointed as the chief editor at Conservative Fix.

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