Reigning Women’s World Cup champions USA thrashed Thailand 13-0 in their opening match of Group F, with talented striker Alex Morgan netting five goals.
The USA thought they were ahead after five minutes with Morgan poking home from close-range but her effort was ruled out for offside. However, it took her just another six minutes to get her head on the ball and fire home to put USA 1-0 up.
It was 2-0 after 20 minutes, a shot by Rose Lavelle evading the gloves of Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying. A penalty claim by the USA was denied by VAR despite looking contentious. No matter, it was 3-0 soon after midfielder Lindsey Horan reacted first following a free-kick.
The fourth came shortly after the start of the second half, with 26-year-old Sam Mewis firing home on the edge of the area via a slight deflection. Morgan scored her second and USA’s fifth minutes later with a tap-in, which was followed by a sixth and seventh through Mewis and Lavelle once again.
They showed no mercy. 😱 pic.twitter.com/TOAL7SKKSw
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 11, 2019
Four second-half goals in six minutes. Ouch. Things were made worse when Morgan sealed her hat-trick just inside the penalty box to make it 8-0 and Megan Rapinoe made it nine. Morgan added another, Mallory Pugh got in on the act before Morgan again got her fifth and USA’s 12th.
A last-minute strike from USA legend Carli Lloyd secured 13 goals and sealed off an opening three points in style. Here are five things we learnt from USA’s 13-0 win over Thailand in the Women’s World Cup Group F match.
1. USWNT send out a statement
Ranked as the number one side in women’s international football heading into this year’s World Cup in France, Tuesday was a real opportunity for the USWNT to show the world just how serious they are taking this competition.
USA had never lost a World Cup opening match prior to the game against Thailand and their squad at this year’s World Cup almost total 2,000 caps, such is their experience.
1+1+1 – The US is the first team to score a headed goal, right-footed goal and a left-footed goal in the first half of a #FIFAWWC match since Germany and Norway both did so on on the same matchday in June 2015. Versatility. pic.twitter.com/GfYHleeF8y
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) June 11, 2019
Following their success in 2015, the reigning World Cup champions faced a Thailand side who were simply hoping to come out of this game with the scoreline deemed respectable.
The last time these two sides met the score finished 9-0 to the Americans, with Thailand surely fearful of a similar scoreline after going behind early on.
Thai fears came true and then some as the USA ran riot, netting 13 goals in an absolute thrashing that proved to the world that the holders mean business this year.
It was the highest score of an opening match for a reigning World Cup holder, beating Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007.
2. The reigning champions draw a crowd
Understandably, a side that consists of players as talented as those among the USA squad are always going to attract people to come along and watch them in their place of work.
Be it men or women, football or otherwise, the USA have some of the most passionate supporters in sport and regularly travel far and wide to offer their support to the latest US team that is competing.
A grand total of 18,591 witnessed USA’s genius on Tuesday, with the Stade Auguste-Delaune’s capacity currently 21,029.
The crowd this was 98% USWNT supporters who had come along to see their side score some goals at the start of their World Cup defence.
There were few seats left vacant in the crowd and long may that be the case.
3. Alex Morgan starts off nicely
Posting on her Instagram prior to Tuesday’s performance, Morgan set out her ambitions for her and the rest of the US squad.
She posted: “A journey within the journey starts today. All the work, the tears, the love, the successes and failures, are for this. I’m ready and it’s thanks to my family, who will be in the stands today and at home watching, beaming with the same pride and excitement I feel.”
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 11, 2019
Her performance against Thailand was exactly what was expected of her. Her 101 international goals for the USA was almost instantly built upon when she tucked home inside five minutes, only to see her effort ruled out for offside.
Morgan quickly rectified that incident with a beautifully finished header from close-range after some excellent USA passing around the Thailand penalty area.
Next, she assisted Lovelle who bagged her eighth goal for the USA with a 25-yard strike. She bagged her second goal of the game in the second half as she continued to threaten before completing her hattrick with a while to go. She still had time to get her fourth and fifth, securing the joint record of the number of goals in a World Cup match.
Five goals, an assist, voted BBC’s ‘Player of the match’, and she is a star who is expected to play a big part in this World Cup.
What a start from Morgan!
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4. Thailand’s World Cup dreams destroyed
Ranked 34th in the world and making just their second appearance in the World Cup finals, Thailand’s ambitions for this match was to surely stay in the game as long as possible, and for 12 minutes, they did just that!
It’s perhaps harsh to judge their chances of progressing in this competition by Tuesday’s result, with the USA always likely to run away as victors at the Stade Auguste-Delaune II.
Head coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian will remain hopeful of a miracle in the coming week or two, with Sweden failing to impress in their 2-0 victory over Chile earlier on.
If they can pick up maximum points against the South Americans and steal something from Sweden, who knows what could happen.
But Tuesday’s heavy loss to USA will not do their chances any good whatsoever.
5. Jill Ellis responds to criticism
Prior to the game against Thailand, USA boss Jill Ellis had already been faced with controversy, with former US international Hope Solo heavily criticising Ellis’ ability to manage the national side.
Speaking on BBC’s Football Daily, Solo said: “I don’t agree a lot with Jill Ellis, to be quite honest.
“[She is] not the leader I wish her to be. She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But oftentimes it doesn’t matter, because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb.”
Ellis’ response to Solo’s comments was to simply pour focus on the tough task ahead, stressing that it’s about the “here and now”.
If there are any problems within the USA camp, they certainly weren’t on show tonight, as they ran riot against Thailand. Of course, the current champions will face sterner tests further down the line but tonight was just the start Ellis needed to prove Solo’s words wrong.