REIMS, France -- Thailand was never a real threat to the U.S. national team. Even so, the three-time Women's World Cup champions had no desire to go easy on a lesser opponent in their opening game.
Goals matter in the group stage.
And statements matter in soccer's biggest tournament.
"Obviously we have the utmost respect for everyone we play, but it's the World Cup," said captain Megan Rapinoe.
Alex Morgan tied the tournament record with five goals and the United States opened with a historic 13-0 rout of Thailand on Tuesday night. Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle each added two goals apiece for the United States, which broke the record for goals and margin of victory in a World Cup game.
Rapinoe, Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also scored. The previous record margin was Germany's 11-0 victory over Argentina in 2007.
Morgan tied Michelle Akers' record for World Cup goals, set in the quarterfinals against Taiwan in 1991. The team's seven different scorers also set a tournament record.
Lloyd, 36, became the oldest American woman to score at a World Cup and joined Germany's Birgit Prinz as the only players to score in five consecutive World Cup games.
The United States faced criticism over its relentless attack. The Americans led 3-0 at the break and then broke the match open in the second half, with the players celebrating goal after goal.
The Americans meant no disrespect, said Morgan, but they simply wanted to position themselves for a run at a second consecutive title.
"We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves," Morgan said. "Every goal matters in this tournament and that's what we were working on."
Asked about the lopsided score, U.S. Coach Jill Ellis wondered if a 10-0 victory in a men's World Cup would elicit the same questions.
"This is a world championship, so every team here has been fantastic to get to this point. And I think that to be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents, and as Alex said, it's a tournament where goal differential is important," Ellis said.
The two teams were the last to kick off in the group stage for the monthlong tournament. Host France opened the World Cup before a sellout crowd in Paris on Friday night with a 4-0 victory over South Korea.
Ranked No. 1 in the world, the Americans had dropped only one match in their previous 38, a loss to France in Le Havre in January. The team was 7-1-2 overall this year, with six consecutive victories going into the World Cup.
The last time the Americans played in the sport's top tournament, Lloyd had a hat trick in the first 16 minutes and the United States beat Japan 5-2 in Canada for the trophy.
The U.S. pounced early against Thailand, too, on Morgan's header in the 13th minute off Kelley O'Hara's precisely placed cross. Mewis, Lavelle and Horan were all making their World Cup debuts.
"When you get a deluge of goals like that, it's a good feeling," Ellis said. "It builds confidence."
Thailand, ranked No. 34 in the world, was clearly outmatched even though the team has shown progress on the world stage. Making its World Cup debut in 2015 four years ago, Thailand finished third in its group but earned its first win, a 3-2 victory over Ivory Coast.
At the final whistle, Lloyd and Christen Press were seen consoling the Thailand goalkeeper. Morgan put her arm around Thailand's Miranda Nild, who was wiping away tears on the field. Nild and Morgan both played college soccer for the California Golden Bears.
"They were disappointed of course, they intended to make an impression in this first match and they were disappointed," Thailand Coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian said through a translator. "Yes, they are all athletes and they will be resilient. We've got two more games to play and we need to bounce back."
Srathongvian said soccer in Thailand is still growing and there is a limited pool of players to draw from.
Tuesday's match came close to the U.S. women's team's biggest rout ever. The U.S. beat the Dominican Republic 14-0 in a 2012 Olympic qualifier in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Up next for the U.S. is World Cup newcomer Chile on Sunday in Paris. In the final group match before the knockout round, the Americans will travel to Le Havre to face nemesis Sweden, who they've been grouped with six times in World Cup play.
NETHERLANDS 1, NEW ZEALAND 0
LE HAVRE, France -- Jill Roord came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Netherlands a victory over New Zealand in the Women's World Cup group opener for both teams Tuesday.
The Netherlands, ranked No. 8 in the world, controlled possession throughout the game but couldn't get by New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler until Roord's breakthrough header.
SWEDEN 2, CHILE 0
RENNES, France -- Kosovare Asllani's goal after a weather delay broke up a scoreless stalemate and Sweden went on to win its Women's World Cup opener and spoil Chile's debut in the tournament.
Thunder prompted a delay in the match in the 72nd minute. It was resumed about 40 minutes later.
Asllani's goal, Sweden's 60th in World Cup play, came in the 83rd minute. Madelen Janogy came in off the bench and added a goal in stoppage time for the Swedes, who are ranked No. 9 in the world.
At a glance
WOMEN’S FIFA WORLD CUP
United States 13, Thailand 0
Netherlands 1, New Zealand 0
Sweden 2, Chile 0
All times Central
Nigeria vs. South Korea, 8 a.m.
Germany vs. Spain, 11 a.m.
France vs. Norway, 2 p.m.
Australia vs. Brazil, 11 a.m.
South Africa vs. China, 2 p.m.
Japan vs. Scotland, 8 a.m.
Jamaica vs. Italy, 11 a.m.
England vs. Argentina, 2 p.m.
Sports on 06/12/2019
Print Headline: Morgan scores five goals in rout