Morgan scores five as USA open World Cup defense with record victory

The US team routed Thailand in Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France. (Reuters)
Updated 13 June 2019

Morgan scores five as USA open World Cup defense with record victory

  • The defending champions orchestrated a record-setting 13-0 destruction of hapless Thailand

REIMS, France: Holders the United States began their defense of the women’s World Cup trophy in style on Tuesday as Alex Morgan scored five times in an incredible, record-setting 13-0 destruction of hapless Thailand in Reims.
Ten of their goals came in the second half as the USA set a new mark for the biggest winning margin in a women’s World Cup match, bettering Germany’s 11-0 defeat of Argentina in 2007.
Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted twice each while Lindsey Horan, skipper Megan Rapinoe and substitutes Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also found the net for the USA in an embarrassingly one-sided Group F encounter watched by a crowd of more than 18,000 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune.
The result also far outstrips the USA’s own record result in a World Cup match, which had been their 7-0 defeat of Taiwan in the quarter-finals of the first tournament in 1991.
Morgan was the star of the show, with her five goals in one game equalling the record for a player in a World Cup match set by her compatriot Michelle Akers, and taking her to 106 in total for her country on her 164th appearance.
She had an effort disallowed for offside inside five minutes but quickly made up for that by nodding in a Kelley O’Hara cross, before Thai goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying — standing at just 1.65m tall — allowed Lavelle’s shot to beat her at the near post.
Horan smashed in the third in the 32nd minute, but the floodgates really opened in the second half as Jill Ellis’s side scored four times in six minutes shortly after the restart.
Mewis bagged two either side of Morgan getting her second from close range, before Mewis squared for Lavelle to make it seven.
Only after that did the legendary Lloyd, scorer of a hat-trick in the 2015 final and now 36, come on.
There was a lull and it looked as if Thailand might avoid claiming an unwanted record, but the holders scored six more in the closing stages.
Morgan got three more to equal the record of Akers set in that game against Taiwan in 1991, while Rapinoe, Pugh and Lloyd joined in too as spectators struggled to keep up with the scoring.
The USA, who are aiming to win the trophy for the fourth time overall, now go to Paris where on Sunday they will face Chile, who lost 2-0 to Sweden earlier on Tuesday.


South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

Updated 14 October 2019

South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

BEIJING: South Korean footballers departed for Pyongyang on Monday to play a World Cup qualifier against North Korea amid deadlocked talks over the North’s nuclear arsenal.
The teams — with Tottenham’s star forward Son Heung-min included in the South Korean squad — are expected to face each other at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Tuesday.
This will be the first competitive men’s game between the two sides to be held in Pyongyang, and has raised hopes for new momentum in ties between the two Koreas.
But Pyongyang refused to hold direct talks with Seoul on the logistics for the match, denying South Korean fans and journalists permission to travel with the team.
South Korean players said the absence of cheering fans will be a first.
“It’s much better to play in a packed stadium rather than an empty one, but I think we’ll be able to play a good match if we use it as motivation,” said defender Kim Min-jae before boarding a flight to Pyongyang at Beijing airport.
The South Korean footballers were accompanied by a delegation of 55 people, limited to players, coaches and staff.
Broadcasters in the South said that plans to air the match live had fallen apart, with some media reporting that there may be attempts to carry the North Korean feed.
The match comes in the wake of a series of North Korean missile tests that raised tensions in the region, and after the breakdown of talks with the United States over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.