While Sweden and the Netherlands relied on dramatic late goals to see off Chile and New Zealand, USA enjoyed an altogether different kind of win.
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The holders and three-time champions left a series of records in their wake, ending a run of tense, low-scoring encounters at France 2019 by racking up the biggest winning margin the FIFA Women's World Cup™ has ever seen. Sam Mewis scored the tournament's 800th goal, while Alex Morgan helped herself to five as the Americans fired an awesome warning to their title rivals.
To defend so well for so long and concede at the death is heartbreaking. But once the dust settles, Tom Sermanni’s side should be able to take plenty of positives. Defensively, they were superb - all the more impressive considering centre-back lynchpin Meikayla Moore ruptured her Achilles just three days before the tournament began. Transitioning from defence into attack had been something they’d worked on during the week and was another highlight, with several clear chances created.
This might not have been as easy for the Dutch as many fans back home expected, but in football only one thing counts: the result. After struggling to break down a tough New Zealand defence, Sarina Wiegman's side will now have to put their heads together and make sure their game plan is solid for Saturday's match against Cameroon. While relief over walking away with three points will prevail, they won't want to leave it so late again.
Although they lost this one late on, Chile were simply outstanding. If we compare the realities of women's football in the two countries, La Roja can take great credit from the way they competed. Their defending was near-perfect until Sweden scored their opening goal. The only problem Chile faced was a lack of attacking potency, and that will be an area for improvement in the matches ahead.
Sweden came into the match as big favourites and were brimming with confidence. But while they dominated, they just couldn't make it work in the final third. It took Madelen Janogy coming off the bench to change things, with the substitute directly involved in the first goal before scoring a superb second. Getting the job done will be a huge relief for the Swedes and should put them in the right mindset ahead of their next match against Thailand.
This US team came out all guns blazing ready to make a huge statement, and they did just that. They're hungry for goals and hungry to win. Morgan was the star tonight with her five goals, and this result is huge for the team moving forward in the tournament. A healthy, strong and confident Morgan will lead this team far if they let her guide them.
The Thai defensive line came out looking exhausted in the second half and could not contain Alex Morgan. Despite the result, the Thai players surely learned a lot from playing against the number one side in the world. Hopefully they can bounce back.
China International Women’s Match Race
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Tang Xijing (CHN) and bronze medallist Angelina Melnikova (RUS).
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