The United States’ quest for a fourth Women’s World Cup title got off to a predictably successful start in France against overmatched Thailand as team captain Alex Morgan ignited an offensive explosion with five goals en route to a record 13-0 victory.
The U.S. took a 3-0 lead into halftime, but things really got out of hand over the first 12 minutes of the second half as the Americans padded their lead with another four goals.
Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle each added a pair of goals for the United States, which broke the record for goals and margin of victory in a World Cup game. Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also scored. The previous record margin was Germany’s 11-0 victory over Argentina in 2007.
Morgan tied Michelle Akers’ record for World Cup goals, set in the quarterfinals against Chinese Taipei in 1991.
‘We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,’ Morgan said. ‘Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.’
Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe celebrate after Morgan scored the first U.S. goal of the day
United States’ midfielder Lindsey Horan (R) celebrates with United States’ forward Megan Rapinoe (2R) after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group F
United States’ Alex Morgan, left, and Thailand’s Wilaiporn Boothduang, right, challenge for the ball during the Women’s World Cup Group
The two teams were the last to kickoff in the group stage for the monthlong tournament. Hosts France opened the World Cup before a sellout crowd in Paris on Friday night with a 4-0 victory over South Korea.
Ranked No. 1 in the world, the Americans had dropped only one match in their previous 38, a loss to France in Le Havre in January. The team is 7-1-2 overall this year, with six straight wins going into the World Cup and its seven different scorers against Thailand set a record for most in a Women’s World Cup game.
The last time the Americans played on the world’s biggest stage, Lloyd had a hat trick in the first 16 minutes and the United States beat Japan 5-2 in Canada for the trophy.
U.S. 13 – THAILAND 0
- 12′ US 1, Thailand 0: Alex Morgan; assisted by Kelley O’Hara
- 20′ US 2, Thailand 0: Rose Lavelle; assisted by Alex Morgan
- 32′ US 3, Thailand 0: Lindsey Horan; assisted by Samantha Mewis
- 50′ US 4, Thailand 0: Samantha Mewis; assisted by Megan Rapinoe
- 53′ US 5, Thailand 0: Alex Morga
- 54′ US 6, Thailand 0: Samantha Mewis
- 56′ US 7, Thailand 0: Rose Lavelle; assisted by Samantha Mewis
- 74′ US 8, Thailand 0: Alex Morgan; assisted by Christen Press
- 79′ US 9, Thailand 0: Megan Rapinoe; assisted by Mallory Pugh 81′ US 10, Thailand 0: Alex Morgan; assisted by Megan Rapinoe
- 84′ US 11, Thailand 0: Mallory Pugh; assisted by Alex Morgan
- 87′ US 12, Thailand 0: Alex Morgan
- 90′ US 13, Thailand 0: Carli Lloyd; assisted by Alex Morgan
The U.S. pounced early against Thailand, too, on Morgan’s header in the 13th minute off Kelley O’Hara’s precisely placed cross. Mewis, Lavelle and Horan were all making their World Cup debuts.
Thailand, ranked No. 34 in the world, was clearly outmatched even though the team has shown progress on the world stage. Making its World Cup debut in 2015 four years ago, Thailand finished third in its group but earned its first win, a 3-2 victory over Ivory Coast.
At the final whistle, Lloyd and Christian Press were seen consoling the Thailand goalkeeper. Morgan put her arm around an opponent, who was wiping away tears on the pitch moments after the final whistle.
The World Cup comes at a time that female players across the globe are seeking better treatment and pay. The U.S. national team has long championed equal rights, and players collectively filed a lawsuit earlier this year that alleges discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and are seeking pay equitable with that of the men’s national team.
The players say the lawsuit is on hold while they’re in France. But a pair of prominent well-wishers on Twitter referenced the team’s pursuit of equality.
‘The @USWNT is something to smile about. It was great to celebrate with them back in 2015 and I’m excited to root them on in their drive to earn their fourth star. Best of luck to these champions for equality, on and off the field,’ wrote Former President Barack Obama.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King weighed in: ‘The pursuit of a record 4th World Cup trophy for the #USWNT officially begins today, but the journey has been years in the making. You have the support of a nation behind you. Get that win, and then get the equal pay you deserve!
Alex Morgan of the U.S. celebrates scoring the tenth goal of the game
Coach Jill Ellis made some lineup moves for the match in the absence of defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who the team said was held out as a precaution with a minor quad injury.
Julie Ertz was moved to the backline for Tuesday night’s game and Samantha Mewis got the start in the midfield.
Sauerbrunn, at her third World Cup, was a steadying force for the U.S. defense in Canada when the U.S. went 540 minutes without conceding a goal.
Morgan, U.S. Soccer’s 2018 Player of the Year has 106 international goals. Playing in her third World Cup, she was named player of the match.
After going into the break with a 3-0 lead, Mewis’s strike deflected of a defender to put the United States up 4-0 early in the second half. And the rout was on.
The United States is one of just four teams to win a World Cup since the tournament started in 1991, joining Germany, Japan and Norway. The Americans have most titles of any country.
Up next for the United States is World Cup newcomer Chile on Sunday in Paris. In the final group match before the knockout round, the Americans will travel to Le Havre to face nemesis Sweden, who they’ve been grouped with six times in World Cup play.
United States’ forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a goal
In the last meeting between the teams, Sweden ousted the United States in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics. Afterward, former U.S. goalkeeper Hole Solo called Sweden ‘cowards’ for bunkering on defense. Alyssa Naeher has since replaced Solo, who was dismissed from the team.
An American supporter looks on prior to the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group F football match between USA and Thailand
Sweden defeated Chile 2-0 earlier on Tuesday in Rennes, a match that featured a 40-minute weather delay.
The U.S. women have won the World Cup three times, including in 2015 when they defeated Japan 5-2 in Canada. They also memorably claimed the trophy 20 years ago on home soil, downing China on penalties after a scoreless draw at the Rose Bowl.
The team is focused on winning again in France even while at home they are looking for a different victory. Known for championing women’s rights and equality, the players collectively filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and are seeking pay equitable with that of the men’s national team.
Rapinoe says the team is ‘hands off’ when it comes to the lawsuit for the duration of the World Cup.
Following Tuesday’s game against Thailand, the United States will head to Paris for a Sunday match against Chile, which is making its first World Cup appearance. The Americans will face nemesis Sweden in the final game of the group stage in Rennes.
Jill Ellis, Head Coach of USA looks on prior to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand
United States’ midfielder Lindsey Horan (R) celebrates with United States’ forward Megan Rapinoe (2R) after scoring a goal on Tuesday
It is the sixth time that the United States has landed in the same World Cup group with Sweden. The Americans were eliminated from the Olympics in Brazil by the Swedes in the quarterfinals. Afterward, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo called them ‘cowards’ for bunkering on defense, and she was dismissed from the team soon thereafter.
Because of the late start in France, there’s the potential that the United States may play the most compact schedule of the field if they go far into the knockout round, which seems likely.
Coach Jill Ellis said she felt the team has been in a good training rhythm and the schedule complements that. Plus, the World Cup always presents different challenges for different teams, like all the flights to traverse Canada in 2015.
‘I think our travel in the group stage is very manageable, it’s good,’ she said. ‘Listen, it’s about having these players healthy, and in a good mindset. I think that’s critical. It’s not getting caught up in who has how many days of rest, to be honest with you, because it is what it is.’
USA supporters pose prior to the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group F football match between USA and Thailand, on June 11
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