REIMS, France (AFP) – The United States began its trophy defencs in scintillating style with 13-0 Women’s World Cup thrashing of Thailand in a ruthless demonstration of strength to potential quarterfinal opponents and host France, which return to action on Wednesday against Norway.
Three-time champion USA scored 10 goals in the second half in Reims on Tuesday as they eclipsed Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007 and shattered their own previous tournament best of 7-0.
Alex Morgan starred with five goals, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted twice each and Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also got on the scoresheet in an embarrassingly one-sided Group F encounter watched by more than 18,000.
The Americans hit back after at suggestions they could have eased up and saved 34th-ranked Thailand from complete humiliation.
“This is a world championship so every team that is here has been fantastic to get to this point. To be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents,” said USA coach Jill Ellis.
Morgan, who now has 106 goals for her country, matched a record set by her compatriot Michelle Akers by scoring five times in a World Cup game.
Morgan and Rapinoe are among the biggest stars in a squad who have made waves with their much publicised fight for pay equality that saw them file a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation in March, accusing the organisation of gender discrimination.
If the Americans top the group, they could be on a collision course to play Corinne Diacre’s France in the quarterfinals in Paris.
The hosts cruised to a 4-0 win over South Korea in their first outing last Friday and are hoping to build on that when they take on Norway in Nice in Group A on Wednesday evening (1900 GMT) in one of 13 sell-out games, FIFA confirmed, with more than a million tounament tickets sold.