Sophia Smith scored twice for the USA in the opening half as the two-time defending champions opened their Women’s World Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over tournament debutants Vietnam on Saturday.
Lindsay Horan scored the third goal for the favourites, who have won four World Cups in total and are competing for an unprecedented three-in-a-row in this year’s tournament.
Vietnam was compared to Thailand, the team that the Americans whitewashed 13-0 in the opening game of the 2019 World Cup. But Vietnam were resilient, keeping the game closer than expected and goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh saved Alex Morgan’s first-half penalty.
Morgan fell to the ground clutching her shin after chasing down the rebound, but she quickly recovered. It was his second penalty miss for the United States.
Smith, one of 14 Americans playing in her first World Cup, showed why she was named both the nation’s Player of the Year and the National Women’s Soccer League MVP last year with two goals in the first half.
Smith scored in the 14th minute on a pass from captain Horan. Smith and Horan celebrated with a choreographed handshake after the goal. He scored again in stoppage time of the first half to make it 2–0 at the break.
After settling for a disappointing bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the USA team featured young talent including Smith and Trinity Rodman. Among the veterans, 38-year-old Megan Rapinoe made her 200th international appearance against Vietnam.
Rapinoe, who scored in the World Cup final in France and was named best player of that tournament, did not start. She announced before the team left for New Zealand that this would be her last World Cup and that she would retire from her professional team at the end of the season.
Rapinoe and midfielder Rose Lavelle, who had been limited by injuries prior to the tournament, both came on as a substitute in the 63rd minute. Rapinoe’s hair was bright blue.
The team’s youngest player, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson, was also the runner-up in the second half.
Horan headed Smith’s pass into a wide-open net, which the goalkeeper raced on and cleverly passed the ball back to him. Horan, who was recently engaged, kissed her ring in celebration.
What to watch on Sky Sports this week?
151st Open – 20 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Golf
4th Men’s Ashes Test – 19 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Cricket
premier league summer series – From 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Hungarian Grand Prix – 21 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports F1
F1 Juniors: Hungarian GP – 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Mix
world matchplay darts – 17 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Action
Women’s World Matchplay Darts – 22 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Action
IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator – 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Action
What is the schedule?
The group stage has started and will go on for a period of two weeks 3 August The group winners and runners-up advance to the Round of 16, which takes place from 5 august To August 8,
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled 11th and 12th August,
After this the first semi-final will be played August 15 The second semi-final will be held in Auckland 16 august at Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final 20 august,
The third place play-off will be played a day before the final 19 august in Brisbane.