Date: Tuesday 11th June
Venue: Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
Hot favourites the United States began their defence of the World Cup in Reims against Thailand who included Californian born Miranda Nild in their ranks and playing in what was only there second World Cup.
The United States found their rhythm immediately in front of a good Crowd of mainly American supporters with their there fast crisp passing game, especially through their wide players Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath. The US they thought they had taken the lead on 5 minutes when Alex Morgan beat Thailand keeper Charoenying only for referee Laura Fortunato to pull it back for an offside.
Seven minutes later the inevitable happened and USA took the lead after Morgan headed in Kelley O’Hara’s excellent cross. Rose Lavelle doubled there lead on 20 minutes with a shot that ricocheted off the keeper. Thongsumbut drew cheers from the crowd when she gave Thailand there first shot on the half hour mark but that found the safe arms of USA keeper Naeher.
USA got there third just minutes later when Heath won a free kick just outside the penalty box which was taken by Rapinoe who duly found the head of Lindsay Horan who scored. Charoenying made a super save in the dying seconds of the half.
Things were to go from bad to worse at the start of the second half for Thailand when in a 6 minute spell they conceded 4 goals when first Sam Mewis deflected shot gave her the 800th goal in Women’s World Cup history. They also conceded the 700th goal as well against Germany in 2015.
Alex Morgan got her second and Sam Mewis opened her account but then turned provider for Lavelle. If Thailand thought that the USA would take their foot off the accelerator they were mistaken. On 74 minutes Morgan grabbed her hattrick and USA’s eighth. 5 minutes later Rapinoe capped off a superb individual performance with a goal of her own.
Morgan hit a lovely strike on 80 minutes to send the score into double figures. There was still time for substitute Mallory Pugh to round the keeper for another. Morgan staked her early claim for the golden boot with a fifth with a piece of sublime skill. This finish put herself in the record books, equalling Michelle Akers five goal haul from 1991.
Carli Lloyd completed the scoring to put Thailand out of there misery to secure an emphatic 13-0 victory and end this complete mismatch, which could have been much worse had it not been for some tremendous saves by the Thai keeper, Charoenying. Understandably the Thailand players were visibly upset so it was nice to see Morgan and some USA players go over and console their opposite numbers.
The win was also the USA’s biggest in a World Cup finals, beating their 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei from in 1991, and also the biggest by anyone in the finals. There will be bigger challenges for this USA team in this competition but tonight they have issued a statement to there rivals that they are here to do business and will not relinquish there hold on the world cup easily.
United States: Naeher, O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Ertz, Dunn, Lavelle, Mewis, Horan, Heath, Morgan, Rapinoe.
Subs: Harris, Pugh, Sauerbrunn, Brian, Lloyd, Krieger, Davidson, Sonnett, Long, McDonald, Press, Franch
Thailand: Chor Charoenying, Phetwiset, Saengkoon, Chinwong, Srangthaisong, Sung-Ngoen, Boothduang, Phancha, Intamee, Thongsombut, Nildhamrong.
Subs: Boonsing, Sritala, Khueanpet, Chucheun, Srimanee, Pengngam, Waenngoen, Saengchan, Dangda, Sornsai, Philawan, Sornpao.