The defending FIFA Women’s World Cup champions show they are more than ready to retain their title.
The United States left a series of records in their wake in crushing Thailand 13-0 in their opening Group F match on Tuesday in Reims, France. The result was the most lopsided game in the history of the tournament, surpassing Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007.
Alex Morgan scored five times, equaling the record of Michelle Akers (USA) for most goals in a single World Cup match. Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis each added a brace. The USA led 3-0 at halftime but scored four goals in the span of six minutes early in the second half to make it 7-0. Six more goals came in the final 16 minutes as the USA continued to put pressure on their overmatched opposition.
The 13 goals by the USA were more than half the combined total of the first 12 games of the tournament, which had produced 25 goals.
United States coach Jill Ellis used all three of her substitutions in the second half after the USA had taken a 7-0 lead. Two of them, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd, scored and the third, Christen Pless, assisted on one of the final six goals.
The record-setting win was not without its detractors, both on social media and television and radio outlets in the United States and Canada.
There were those questioning why the USA continued to play the same attacking style once the game was clearly decided. Others were unhappy with the elaborate and effusive goal celebrations after the score was already 8-0.
Goal difference is a tiebreaker to advance out of the group stage and progress in the tournament.
After the match, Ellis told reporters “Every team that’s here has been fantastic to get to this point, and the way to be respectful to opponents is to play hard against them. It’s a tournament where goal differential is a criteria.
“A lot of this is about building momentum, so as a coach I don’t find it my job to go and harness my players, to rein them in, because this is what they’ve dreamt about. This is a world championship,” she said, according to 90min.com.
The defending champions came into the tournament with only one loss since July 2017 and have now won seven games in a row, scoring 36 goals in the process, and have not conceded a goal in five matches.
The one loss, by the way, was to France 3-1 in a friendly in Le Havre in January. Could we see a rematch in the Women’s World Cup final?
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