After 13 years as manager of the England women's team (and never making it past the quarterfinals of the World Cup), Hope Powell seems ready to move on following England's painful penalty shootout loss to France over the weekend. And just to make it clear how little she cares about being diplomatic, she's calling all her players who refused to volunteer to take a shot cowards. Quite the contrast from the North Korean coach who made up the fantastical excuse of his entire team getting struck by lightning to defend his side's loss to the U.S. earlier in the tournament.
From the Guardian:
Three of the back four stepped up in the shoot-out, with the 22-year-old left-back Claire Rafferty, who had been brought off the bench to make her World Cup debut 10 minutes from the end of the initial 90, and the central defender Faye White, the captain, in what may well have been her last game in an England shirt, missing the fourth and fifth attempts from the spot to send France through to the semi-finals.
"Three times I had to ask [for volunteers] before anyone stepped forward," said Powell. "'Where are you?' I was thinking, and then a young kid is the first to put her hand up. And Kelly Smith was dying on her feet but she stepped up and took one. You've got to want to take a penalty, but other players should have come forward and they didn't. That's weak, it's cowardice."
Ouch. But to be fair, if your players aren't even willing to take a penalty kick when you put out the call, that's also a reflection on your failings as a coach.
Then again, this is an England team we're talking about, so the players probably all knew they'd be setting themselves up for embarrassment if they took one.