It hasn’t always been an easy first week for the favorites at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Japan, the 2015 runner-up, settled for a scoreless draw with Argentina on Monday. Sweden, a top-10 team, needed two late goals to avoid a draw with Chile.
Perennial powers like Germany, England and Canada each only won by a single goal. The United States, however, is not a typical favorite.
The defending champion United States headed to France as the overwhelming favorite to win its record fourth Women’s World Cup and reminded everyone why in its Group F opener Tuesday against Thailand in Rennes.
The United States scored its first goal in the 12th minute, took a commanding three-goal lead in halftime, then erupted for four goals in a six-minute stretch of the second half to rout Thailand 13-0 at Staude Auguste-Delaune.
The goals: five from Alex Morgan, two from newcomers Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, and one each from Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd.
Those six minutes in the second half — from the 50th minute through the 56th — were the perfectly encapsulation for what the United States can do that most other countries can’t.
Three different players scored the four goals, and veterans and newcomers alike chipped in. It started with Mewis, who finished a feed from Megan Rapinoe for her first World Cup goal.
Morgan and Mewis knocked home the next two, and Lavelle finished the barrage with her second goal in her debut off an assist from Mewis. The United States can score in such a wide variety of ways it isn’t privy to an upset possibility in the way other top-flight teams are.
The United States didn’t take its foot off the gas either. A 7-0 lead stretched to 8-0 to get Morgan a hat trick, then climbed to 9-0 when Rapinoe outran the Thailand defense to send home a long cross. Why not go for 10? Morgan scored her fourth on an easy shot from the middle of the box after Rapinoe weaved through the left side of the Thailand defense.
Miss any of the action? Check out all 13 of the United States’ goals: