The last Women's World Cup was the best edition of the tournament yet, so a lot of people were pretty upset when FIFA decided to expand it. The result would be more uncompetitive matches, like the one between Germany and the Ivory Coast on Sunday. Les Elephants got crushed, 10-0, and everyone's worst fears came true.
Germany are the best team in the world and Ivory Coast are the lowest ranked team to ever qualify for a World Cup. This was possibly the most lopsided matchup in World Cup history, and it may never be topped. But for a blowout, it wasn't that awful -- Rebecca Elloh had a big chance for Ivory Coast at 1-0, and another one at 3-0. Late in the second half, Ange N'Guessan put a clear header over the bar. And the end result wasn't the most lopsided in the tournament's history -- that came in 2007, when Germany beat Argentina 11-0.
Expanding the tournament gives opportunities to new countries and gives dozens of nations incentive to invest resources in women's football when they had unfunded, DIY-style programs previously. The cost? It's this, at worst. Because this is the worst it's going to get. The best team in the tournament drew the worst team, the win wasn't even by a record margin, and the blown-out team had three really good scoring chances.
Now we're through it. It's over. And if this game was the worst thing that's going to happen as a result of the field expanding, it was undoubtedly a good thing. We can get on with the rest of the World Cup knowing that we won't see another match that thoroughly uncompetitive, while a bunch of first-time qualifiers will fight for knockout stage places.