USA Say Phu-ket To Thailand

Thirteen goals, a ruthless performance and the biggest victory in WWC history means that USWNT are now our new overlords and looking more and more likely to secure a record fourth World Cup title.

The defending champions finally got their WWC campaign underway in a match where almost everyone had written off their Thai opponents. USWNT had an impressive run of matches coming into this game, scoring 23 goals in their last six matches and only conceding three (‘STRAYA!) while Thailand had only won one match in their last six. Plus, the US had Obama tweeting his support before the game and I feel like Obama is the anti-Drake when it comes to bringing good luck. From the moment the whistle went USWNT were on the attack, forcing Thailand to be disciplined from the outset. Credit to Thailand, if Tobin Heath was running at me with the ball and that determined look in her eye in the first minute I would probably cry and then give her my lunch money.

Five minutes in and Alex Morgan’s lurking like that mate we all have (you know the type) trying to poach a goal that was going in but was flagged offside. This wasn’t a VAR call my friends, this was the result of a flag actually being raised. I know. We do have a VAR check to confirm the correct call was made and the game carries on.

We don’t have to wait long for a Morgan goal to count when she finally opens the scoring with a precision header in the 12th . Kelley O’Hara provides with a brilliant cross to pick out Morgan in the box who finishes with ease from close range. She looked like she had all the space in the world and it’s not a good start for Thailand. When it finally looks like Thailand have a chance to break into the opposition half, O’Hara comes running in with a big challenge on Thailand’s no.10, Sunisa Srangthaisong, and carries on like it was nothing.

The USWNT continued to press and it’s no surprise when Rose Lavelle doubles the lead in the 20th. She smashed the ball from outside the box and while Chor-Charoenying gets a hand to it she can’t keep it out of the net. The first of two pens calls waved away by the ref is met with jeers ringing around the stadium. The replay looks to show Chinwong with contact on Mewis in the box but the VAR check also comes back clean. I may have only started my level 4 referee course and never finished, but any other day and that’s a pen.

US scores just one more goal before half time after Heath is brought down on the edge of the box. She steps up to whip a low cross into the box where a waiting Horan bangs it into the net to make it 3-0 in the 32nd.

Somehow we make it to half time without another goal and the BBC commentators are playing up that the next goal will be the 800th goal scored in the WWC. We don’t have to wait long for the 800th into the second half as Mewis’ shot from inside the box is deflected in to make it 4-0 in the 50th. Mewis has been brilliant all game and you can just tell she’s buzzing as she celebrates. There’s barely time for Thailand to regroup before Morgan capitalises on a flick on from a set piece to make it 5-0. I barely have time to recover from those two goals before Mewis and Lavelle score two more to make it 7-0 in the 56th.

That’s four goals in 367 seconds (I’m quoting BBC here so if it’s wrong, just deal with it) and you just know this is going to be a blood bath. You have to feel for Thailand at this point when Lavelle and Heath are subbed for Charli Lloyd and Christen Press. Both played and scored for the US last time these two teams meet in 2016 and that game finished 9-0. The onslaught continues and the determination of the US is slightly frightening. Morgan turns her
defender without breaking a sweat before slotting it home for her hat-trick in the 74th.

Four minutes later and the US are on the counter. Pugh breaking away with speed down the right wing before passing to Rapione who makes the run into the box. She has to stretch to get the touch but cooly makes it 9-0 and you can see how much it means to her as she runs off to celebrate. Somehow this game is still going and Morgan bags her 4 th and the 10 th for the US. Special mention to Rapione here who beats three or four defenders before providing the assist for Morgan.

By the 87th the US have scored two more though Pugh and Morgan (again!) and have surpassed the total goals scored by Germany in their opening game of the WWC in 2007 when they hammered Argentina 11-0. Morgan’s goal is a peach too, as it dips over the goalkeeper to make it 12-0. This game wouldn’t be complete without Lloyd getting on the score sheet and she finally does in 90+2’, slotting it home from the edge of the six-yard box. The US end the night with a 13-0 victory of Thailand, setting the record of the biggest victory in World Cup history and setting the tone for the rest of the tournament. Commiserations to Thailand and any other team who get in the way of the

By Bree Reidy

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