LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images
Alex Morgan netted five goals for the United States to ignite their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in France with a 13-0 annihilation of Thailand and move level on points with Sweden at the top of Group F.
Morgan scored the defending champions’ first goal of the tournament after 12 minutes and was one of three Americans to get at least a brace, along with Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, at the Stade Auguste-Delaune.
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The Stars and Stripes led 3-0 at half-time as Lindsey Horan also got on the scoresheet. However, the gulf in standards between the two teams took its toll on Thailand in the second half as Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh added their names to the scoresheet.
B/R Football @brfootball
Morgan 12’, 53′, 74′, 81’, 87′
Lavelle 20’, 56’
Mewis 50’, 54’
@USWNT are right at home. 🇺🇸🇫🇷 https://t.co/t4J1wWhw0n
Sweden beat Chile 2-0 earlier on Tuesday thanks to late goals from Kosovare Asllani and Madelen Janogy to take an initial lead in the group.
Jill Ellis’ side rained down a record total of goals in 90 minutes and sent a message to the rest of the tournament contenders that they’re not intent on losing their crown, per OptaJoe:
13 – The United States Women’s National Team’s 13-0 victory against Thailand today is the largest margin of victory in the history of the FIFA World Cup (men’s and women’s). Historic. #FIFAWWC https://t.co/CyZxee3pAj
And all eyes were on Morgan as the Orlando Pride forward took the match by the horns, and it seemed fitting that arguably the biggest star ever to have worn the United States women’s shirt opened the Americans’ account, via Fox (U.S. only):
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Alex Morgan with the opening goal for the @USWNT 💥
The set piece was key for the United States early on. It proved obvious they would have at least a physical edge over the opponent, an advantage that only grew more severe as the game wore on.
If Morgan made her first strike look routine, Lavelle’s long-range effort for the United States’ second appeared almost effortless (U.S. only):
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Rose Lavelle from DISTANCE
USWNT up 2-0 in under 20 mins 🔥 (via @FOXSoccer)
Horan was the next to capitalise from a set piece and convert from close in to give the Americans a three-goal cushion at the break. Mewis (two) and Morgan then added another three between the 50th and 55th minutes to double that void.
Lavelle became the third player to record multiple goals after netting a second on her World Cup debut to make it seven.
Christen Press fired the ball into Morgan, who showed a slick pair of feet to dig the ball out from under her and finish inside the far post to make it 8-0. Morgan and Rapinoe added two more in the following minutes to bring the USA’s tally up to double digits.
NBC’s JJ Stankevitz pointed to the difference in goal productivity between the United States women’s and men’s football teams after Pugh scored her first World Cup goal:
JJ Stankevitz @JJStankevitz
Goals scored by #USWNT today: 11
Goals scored by #USMNT in every World Cup since 2006: 10
Morgan wasn’t finished there and turned on the flair for her final finish, via Match of the Day:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
Alex Morgan…. the role model!
#USA 13-0 #THA
#ChangeTheGame #FIFAWWC https://t.co/lLiXNZHsxk
Substitute Lloyd also got her reward for a 30-minute cameo and got on the scoresheet in injury time, following up her hat-trick in the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
This is expected to be Lloyd’s last appearance at a World Cup, and she’ll hope to have more of an impact despite the fact that Morgan looks to have the team’s attacking responsibilities covered.
The United States next face Chile in their second Group F fixture on Sunday, while Thailand will face Sweden on Matchday 2.