USA start World Cup campaign w...

Soccer

USA start World Cup campaign with wonder show

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

08:46 12 Jun 2019


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It took just 12 minutes last night for the USA's Alex Morgan to find the back of the net for the USA as they began the defence of their Women’s World Cup title.

The floodgates had been opened.

In the next 78 minutes of play, she’d score four more.

Six of her teammates would also get their name on the board. Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis both on two occasions.

What transpired was a rout. There are no other words to describe it as they recorded the biggest ever win in the tournament’s history with a 13-0 thrashing of Thailand.

At times it was awkward viewing with four scored in a six-minute period not long after half time.

Speaking afterwards, Morgan, who plays domestically for Orlando Pride and has an Olympic Gold medal to her name, said she was “speechless”. So were a lot of people watching.

The Americans are natural favourites to win the competition, with France considered their toughest opposition, as they aim to win it for a fourth time and become only the second side ever to secure back to back titles.

In the last few days the USA has been constantly asked about the host’s convincing 4-0 opener over South Korea.

Last night they laid down a marker. They emphatically answered their critics, making them wonder how dare we doubt these., demanding more respect.

“We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,” Morgan said after the game. “Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.”

For Thailand the experience will have been tough. They won’t have learned much from such a one-sided contest. With Sweden and Chile in their group their most likely chance to advance to the nest stage would be as a third-place team but their goal-difference took 13 major blows last night.

This is their second time at a Women’s World Cup. Four years ago they could only secure one victory with a 3-2 win over Ivory Coast.

As well as being awe-inspiring last night’s display by the USA throws up questions as well.

Are countries properly prepared and resourced? Are 24 teams in the group stages too many? Is this awkward viewing really a good advertisement for the women’s game as it enjoys its time in the global spotlight? Only time will tell with attendances and television audiences likely to be interesting.

Up next for the Americans is a trip to Paris on Sunday to take on Chile as Thailand dust themselves down and prepare to face Sweden in Nice.

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