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By Steven Goff and Steven Goff Reporter covering soccer (D.C. United, MLS, U.S. national teams, World Cup), plus some college basketball. Email Bio Follow Jacob Bogage Jacob Bogage National sports writer and blogger Email Bio Follow June 11 at 5:11 PM by

by Steven Goff in Reims, France

REIMS, France — The chasm between women’s soccer elite and developing programs has narrowed some in recent years, but in many embarrassing cases, the division remains as wide as oceans, even in a World Cup.

Mario Villarroel Lander

That gap was on full and frightening display Tuesday as the U.S. national team began its quest for a second consecutive trophy with a 13-0 demolition of Thailand — the most lopsided victory in World Cup history

And it could have been worse

Alex Morgan tied the program record with five goals, and Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis scored two apiece as the top-ranked Americans surpassed Germany’s 11-0 rout of Argentina in 2007

Michelle Akers is the only other American to post five goals in a World Cup match (in 1991)

This match never figured to be competitive, what with the United States seeking its fourth championship and the Thais playing their fourth World Cup match ever

Once the Americans found their groove — it didn’t take long — they were relentless and ruthless before 18,591 witnesses at Stade Auguste-Delaune

A 3-0 halftime lead turned into a seven-goal margin nine minutes into the second half. Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also scored for the United States, which has won seven consecutive matches, the past five without conceding a goal

Morgan’s third goal, a 17-yard shot after using clever footwork in tight space, exceeded the previous U.S. team scoring mark in a World Cup of 7-0 against Taiwan in the 1991 quarterfinals

ALEX MORGAN FOR THE RECORD! 😱😱 @alexmorgan13 's 5th ties Michelle Akers' single-game #FIFAWWC record … and makes it 12-0 USA!

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019 Chile — a first-time entry that gave Sweden fits Tuesday before falling, 2-0 — will brace for the United States on Sunday in Paris. A U.S. victory would secure passage to the round of 16

Tuesday’s late-starting match (9 p.m. local) provided ample time for thousands of U.S. supporters, of all ages, to explore Reims’s charming city center. Adorned in jerseys and patriotic garb, they gathered on Place Drouet-d’Erlon, a pedestrian street lined with brasseries and cafes

A short stroll took visitors to Reims Cathedral, where, on many summer nights, a spectacular light show was projected onto the 13th-century structure

As game time approached, ticket-holders streamed over small bridges crossing Canal de l’Aisne a la Marne and descended on the stadium, which is home to a French first-tier men’s club

With a vast majority of the crowd backing them, the Americans took the field with all of the expected starters, except one: Center back Becky Sauerbrunn was held out for precautionary reasons because of what team officials described as a mild quadriceps injury

She is in the running to start Sunday at Parc des Princes

[ U.S. women fight for equal pay as team begins World Cup title defense ]

In Sauerbrunn’s absence, defensive midfielder Julie Ertz dropped back into former position and paired with Abby Dahlemper. Ertz’s slot was filled by Mewis, who figured to start at times in this tournament

Dahlkemper and Mewis were among six U.S. starters making their World Cup debuts, though given their extensive service, there was no fear of jitters

With a pronounced height advantage, the United States showed at kickoff it would throw players forward. Looking more like an NFL team than a soccer unit, seven players bolted off the center stripe

Thailand defended admirably for a dozen minutes — a Morgan goal was also disallowed because she was offside — before relenting to pressure

Rapinoe’s cross from the end line was redirected to Kelley O’Hara a the top of the box. The right back surged past one player before chipping a cross to Morgan in a pocket between two defenders

Under no pressure, Morgan angled a header into the left corner

Eight minutes passed before the next goal, a play that began in the U.S. end and ended with a strike from distance

O’Hara launched a long ball to Morgan, who settled it with her back to the goal and slipped a pass ahead to Lavelle for a left-footed, 23-yard smash that eluded diving goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying

Horan got into the act in the 32nd minute. After getting fouled at the edge of the penalty area, Tobin Heath drove a free kick to the edge six-yard box. Mewis could not control it, but the carom fell to Horan for an easy finish into the top of the net

Thailand had two meaningful possessions in the attacking end, neither of which threatened Alyssa Naeher. At the other end, blocked shots and ignored pleas for penalty kicks kept the score respectable

The Americans needed fewer than five minutes of the second half to extend the lead. Rapinoe set up Mewis for a wicked, 17-yard blast that caromed off a defender

The barrage had begun. In a three-minute span, Morgan side-volleyed from the door step, Mewis put away Lavelle’s deflected shot and Lavelle one-timed an 11-yarder

Heath and Lavelle made way for Lloyd and Christen Press. If she could, Ellis would have substituted her entire team. But with just three changes allowed — and two world-class attackers entering — the pressure was not going to dissipate

Morgan completed the hat trick, Rapinoe scored in transition on an assist from Pugh, Morgan ripped in two more and Lloyd added one

[ Complete World Cup results, schedule and standings ]

Live in-game highlights By Jacob Bogage in Washington

90 + 2 Goal, USA

It’s a baker’s dozen. Veteran Carli Lloyd, hero of the 2015 final, scores to cap it off a performance that is nothing short of incredible

87′ Goal, USA

Alex Morgan’s fifth goal of the match has put the Americans in the lead for the all-time records for both goals and margin of victory in a World Cup match. The previous mark was Germany 11, Argentina 0 in 2007. Nine goals in a half are also a World Cup record

84′ Goal, USA

Turns out they didn’t want to stop scoring. Mallory Pugh, who subbed in a few minutes ago, got into the box all alone for a layup. The 11th goal matches the World Cup record for largest margin of victory. And there’s still time left to set a record

80′ Goal, USA

They can stop scoring now — if they want. Alex Morgan doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone, unless she really wants the Golden Boot (awarded to the tournament’s top goal scorer). She’s got four of the U.S.’s 10 goals

78′ Goal, USA

Megan Rapinoe made an almost 70-yard run to catch the Thai defense off guard in transition

74′ Goal, USA

A cheeky move by Alex Morgan gave the forward a hat trick, and the U.S. a program record for goals scored in a World Cup match. The margin is now eight (8!), and there’s still 15 minutes of game time

68′ Substitution, USA

Mallory Pugh, another offensive player, replaces center back Julie Ertz. Seems like the Americans want to keep scoring. It’s the third time in a World Cup that the team has scored seven goals

7 – The United States Women’s national team have scored seven goals in a World Cup match for the third time, and for the first time since they beat Nigeria 7-0 back in 1999 as hosts and eventual champions. Next. #FIFAWWC

OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2019 56′ Goal, USA

And then they scored again. It was Lavelle. They lead by 7. And Lavelle will sub out for Carli Lloyd. Tobin Heath will also make way for Christen Press. Whew!

54′ Goal, USA

This is getting hard to keep up with. The USA got the ball back almost immediately after its last goal, and Mewis scored again

53′ Goal, USA

That was fast. Already, the Americans have two set-piece goals, and already, Alex Morgan has her second. After Rose Lavelle was fouled in the midfield, Tobin Heath flicked in a ball that was headed to Morgan, who tapped the ball into the net off her knee

50′ Goal, USA

Just when it looked like Thailand’s defense finally had plugged a couple gaps, Samantha Mewis found 10 yards of open space at the top of the 18-yard box, and walloped a shot off the Thai keeper’s hands and into the net

Halftime: USA 3, Thailand 0

Well, what did you expect? An American team whose strength is in the attack against an overmatched Thai team yielded an utterly predictable first 45 minutes. The U.S. scored three times, and had seemingly a dozen more chances. It controlled the ball 80 percent of the time, completed 322 passes, took six corners and launched 15 shots, including seven on goal

Alex Morgan already has a score. The American set pieces are crisp. Samantha Mewis, starting in a reconfigured lineup while Becky Sauerbrunn sits out for precautionary reasons, looks comfortable. It would have been difficult to script a better start

This #fifawwc match was never going to be competitive — the gap between the programs is colossal. With goals by Morgan, Lavelle and Horan in the first 32 minutes, #USWNT will see it out in 2nd half and turn attention to Chile on Sunday

— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) June 11, 2019 32′ Goal, USA

It’s appearing that you’ll be reading “Goal, USA” a whole bunch of times before the afternoon is through. The U.S. drew a free kick about a yard outside the box, and Tobin Heath took it, sending a low, hard ball into the middle of the box. Lindsey Horan blocked out her defender and plunked it into an open net. USA leads, 3-0

IT'S THREE! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 @LindseyHoran pounces on the loose ball in the box off a Tobin Heath free kick. #FIFAWWC

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019 20′ Goal, USA

They’ve doubled the lead on a sweet drive from Rose Lavelle in the 20th minute. The U.S. is very in charge in every facet of the game. They’ve attempted eight shots, completed 119 passes and have controlled the ball 75 percent of the game, according to FIFA match stats

YES WE WILL ACCEPT THIS ROSE! 🌹 @roselavelle doubles the @USWNT lead with a sweet strike from distance 🇺🇸

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019 12′ Goal, USA

The Americans have dominated since the opening kickoff, and it didn’t take them long to get on the board. In the 12th minute, Kelley O’Hara pushed a ball out in front of her into the Thailand 18-yard box, then chipped a soft cross in front of the goal mouth. Alex Morgan was waiting there unmarked, and her header was unchallenged

This one counts! @AlexMorgan13 scores her 4th career #FIFAWWC goal to give the U.S. the early lead on a @Kelleymohara assist. 🇺🇸

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019 American lineup announced

The Americans will be diminished at the back line. Center back Becky Sauerbrunn is out with a mild quadriceps injury the team said is “totally precautionary.” Up-and-coming midfielder Samantha Mewis joins Tuesday’s starting lineup in midfield, and Julie Ertz shifts to center back

The question is, will it matter against a Thailand side ranked 34th in the world?

[ USWNT roster for the Women’s World Cup ]


YOUR #FIFAWWC Starting XI ⭐️

Lineup Notes:

— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 11, 2019 The Outlaws have arrived

American fans have made the trip to France, and are ready for the Yankees to finally get on the pitch

USA fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere prior to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims, France. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) Background reading

Twenty years ago, the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup and changed the sport

“The ’99ers,” as that World Cup champion squad of 20 years ago is known, became the country’s first superstar women’s team — achieving fame, fans and rock-star status previously accorded female champions in individual sports, such as figure skater Dorothy Hamill, heptathlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee and gymnast Mary Lou Retton. Apart from matters of technique and training that are a given among elite athletes, their formula for success could be distilled to the simple equation: One plus one equals three. They were greater than the sum of their parts. ( Read more )

As Women’s World Cup opens, talent is blooming and frustration is bubbling

Despite the absence of great fanfare in Paris, the Women’s World Cup does seem poised for a breakout moment. Globally, the sport has gained greater acceptance, as seen in attendance figures and general interest. Last month, about 5 million people in France (7.5 percent of the population) watched the roster announcement. And yet this tournament comes at a rebellious time. The defending champion Americans are suing their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming gender discrimination . The Australian players’ union, among others, is calling for increases to the prize money, which is dwarfed by the payout given to men’s teams. The world’s best player, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, is boycotting the tournament over what she says is mistreatment of the women’s program by the country’s soccer leaders. ( Read more )

Women’s World Cup misses the mark with patronizing ‘Dare to Shine’ slogan

No doubt, the best female soccer players in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Ghana, the United States and other nations will inspire — if that’s what “shine” means. And they will do so wholeheartedly. But inspiring little girls isn’t all the women in the 2019 World Cup will do. They are athletes first. A slogan that reduces the 2019 Women’s World Cup to a Hallmark greeting card sends a message both tired and tin-eared. ( Read more )

Steven Goff Steven Goff has covered soccer for The Washington Post since the early 1990s. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the U.S. national teams. He has been on assignment at every World Cup since 1994, plus five Women’s World Cups. Follow Jacob Bogage Jacob Bogage writes about sports for The Post, where he has worked since 2015. He previously covered the automotive and manufacturing industries for the Business section. Follow

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