June 12 – The US broke a World Cup record by annihilating Thailand 13-0 to begin their title defence with an emphatic statement. Alex Morgan grabbed five goals in a 90-minute massacre.
From the moment Morgan opened the scoring in the 12th minute the result was never in doubt. The question wasn’t if the US were going to win, but by how many? By the end of the 90 minutes, the Thai net had rippled 13 times, a record and the largest victory for any team in World Cup history.
The Americans toppled their own record – a 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei in the first-ever Women’s World Cup in 1991 on home soil – as well as the overall record previously held by Germany after an 11-0 win against Argentina in 2007.
Almost the entire match took place on the Thai half and the Americans had seven players on the field who had had been given the freedom to attack. Morgan’s five-goal haul was an emphatic response to criticism that she was out of form and fading, but the result also laid down a marker for the rest of the field. Among the favourites France has been the only other team to impress with an easy 4-0 win against South Korea in the tournament’s opening match.
“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.”
The Americans smelled blood after their opener and by the end of one of the most one-sided matches in major finals history Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis had scored two each, Morgan five, while Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh had one each.
“We accept the score today,” said Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian. “We haven’t done enough. We accept that [the US] are very strong and they were excellent all around. We accept our mistakes and we are going to improve.”
Thailand are participating for a second time in the World Cup. They debuted four years ago in Canada and were eliminated from a group with Germany, Norway and Ivory Coast. The Americans went on to triumph on Canadian soil and their victory over Thailand is a strong warning to other contenders in the tournament that the US mean business.
“It was awesome,” said US coach Jill Ellis said. “You want your forwards hot in a tournament and it’s a great start, especially for Morgan. Hopefully she carries it on through the finals. I was in tears watching them. It verifies who we picked. It is about building momentum and that is part of the process. You want the players to leave with a good feeling. If they are in a good place mentally, that is a big step.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1566349377labto1566349377ofdlr1566349377owedi1566349377sni@o1566349377fni1566349377