Striker Alex Morgan scored five times as holders the United States began their World Cup campaign with a record 13-0 win over Thailand on Tuesday.
The Group F result was the largest margin of victory in either the men’s or women’s World Cup.
When the Americans headed for the interval 3-0 up, there was little indication of what was to come in the second half.
After netting four times in six minutes shortly after the restart, they then added six more goals in the last 16 minutes.
Morgan opened the goal spree for the title favourites, who are in pursuit of a fourth world crown, with a header in the 12th minute and from then on there was no stopping the champions.
Eight minutes later Rose Lavelle found the net with a left-footed shot while midfielder Lindsey Horan gave them a 3-0 halftime lead.
Samantha Mewis opened the floodgates five minutes after the break as the U.S. made life miserable for the Thais by regularly finding the back of the net.
In total seven Americans scored during the match – Morgan (5), Lavelle (2), Mewis (2), Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd all finding their way on to the scoresheet in a performance that is bound to strike fear into all of those teams hoping to end the United States’ reign as world champions.
“We really wanted to showcase ourselves and what we’ve been preparing for and working on and I think we did that,” said Morgan.
“Every goal matters in this tournament and so that’s what we were working on in this game. We got a lot of attacks and I think we were really clinical in the number of attacks that we did get. I am speechless. The ball just bounced my way today and I am looking forward to the next game. To see Rose Lavalle have the confidence to go at players, Sam Mewis taking on players and scoring from outside the box… I am really proud of them.”
The result surpassed Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007 and almost doubled the U.S. own previous record – a 7-0 success over Taiwan in 1991.
“We did not do enough. They were excellent all around. We don’t have any excuse and accept they are better,” said Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian. “We have to improve in every aspect.”
The last time the two teams met, the United States won 9-0.
U.S. coach Jillian Ellis said the result was great confidence booster but did not want to get carried away with the emphatic nature of the win.
“This only game one. It will be an incredibly hard World Cup,” she said.
The U.S. will next face Chile on Sunday, while Thailand will be up against Sweden.
World Cup goal celebrations polarises opinion
The United States’ record 13-0 drubbing of Thailand at the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday did not sit well with everybody, with opinion divided on whether the team should have so mercilessly punished a hapless opponent.
Striker Alex Morgan scored five times as the holders began their World Cup campaign with the largest margin of victory in either the men’s or women’s World Cup.
Former American international Taylor Twellman, however, criticised the team on social media, believing the side’s goal celebrations in Reims were excessive.
“Celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth like many of you. Curious to see if anyone apologises for this postgame,” Twellman tweeted to his 327,000 followers.
He was also critical of the U.S. women for showing their hand ahead of games against more formidable opponents.
“Not sure why the #USWNT is ‘wasting’ any of their set plays when the score is 3-0. Bury (Thailand) then move on but don’t use anything that could be needed in future games,” he wrote.
Record international goalscorer Abby Wambach, however, defended her former teammates.
“For all that have an issue with many goals: for some players, this is there first World Cup goal, and they should be excited,” the scorer of a record 184 international goals tweeted to her 679,000 followers.
She also questioned whether there was an element of sexism in the criticism.
“Imagine it being you out there,” she added.
“This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?”
Rob Stone, meanwhile, the host of the Fox Sports World Cup coverage on American television, sided with Twellman.
“This got humiliating at some point. It just became an exercise in target practice,” he said. “You know what I wanted to do? Pull it back, knock it around.”
Former U.S. international Alexi Lalas, another member of the panel, however, defended the Americans.
“It’s not their problem they’re playing against a poor team,” he said.
“The U.S. team is not here to be anybody’s friend. The U.S. team is here to win a World Cup. The U.S. team each and every time the whistle blows is going to score as many goals as possible.”
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