Sophia Smith scored twice and arrange one other as a new-look United States launched their bid to win a 3rd Girls’s World Cup in a row with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam on Saturday.
One among six members of the USA beginning line-up making her World Cup debut, full of life ahead Smith completed a nice transfer to open the scoring within the 14th minute at Eden Park in Auckland.
Veteran Alex Morgan was then denied from the penalty spot earlier than Smith struck once more deep in stoppage time on the finish of the primary half in entrance of a crowd of simply over 41,000.
FIFA Girls’s World Cup: Chiamaka Nnadozie’s heroic penalty save denies Canada a successful begin
Coach making ready Zambia girls’s soccer staff for World Cup accused of sexual misconduct
She then arrange the third objective for captain Lindsey Horan within the 77th minute, after veteran icon Megan Rapinoe had come off the bench to win her 2 hundredth cap.
Vlatko Andonovski’s favourites additionally missed a hatful of probabilities as debutants Vietnam averted the humiliation that befell Thailand on the 2019 World Cup, once they have been thrashed 13-0 by the US.
There may be clearly room for enchancment for an American aspect who may even play Portugal and 2019 runners-up the Netherlands in Group E, as they goal to win an unprecedented third consecutive title.
Nonetheless, this was a brand new expertise for a lot of of their aspect, and for Andonovski, taking cost of a World Cup sport for the primary time having changed Jill Ellis as coach not lengthy after their triumph in France 4 years in the past.
With Rapinoe starting her remaining World Cup earlier than retirement on the bench, the 22-year-old Smith and 21-year-old Trinity Rodman flanked Morgan in assault on their debuts on the finals.
Proper-back Emily Fox, centre-back Naomi Girma, and midfielders Andi Sullivan and Savannah DeMelo additionally made their first World Cup appearances.
Morgan squanders spot kick
Tran Thi Kim Thanh take a bow!! 🧤
— FIFA Girls’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) July 22, 2023
Rodman, the daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, wanted prolonged remedy after struggling a knock inside the primary minute earlier than occurring to have an effect on proceedings.
It was Smith who received the breakthrough although, controlling and ending off a nice transfer expertly after Morgan had flicked on a cross by Horan.
It was one-way site visitors but it surely remained 1-0 till Rodman was clipped by Hoang Thi Mortgage within the space simply earlier than the break and the Moroccan referee gave a penalty after coming over to evaluate the pictures.
But Morgan, enjoying in her nineteenth World Cup match, noticed her poor kick saved by Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh diving to the correct.
As an alternative Smith made it 2-0 in direction of the top of eight added minutes within the first half, firing via the legs of the goalkeeper and in after a Girma cross had been punched away.
The objective was initially dominated out earlier than being given after one other prolonged test confirmed there was no offside.
Rapinoe, her hair died blue, entered the fray to cheers simply after the hour mark alongside Rose Lavelle, the 2 goal-scorers from the 2019 remaining.
Teenager Alyssa Thompson additionally got here on for her World Cup bow simply earlier than Smith pounced on a Julie Ertz ball ahead and equipped a cutback for Lyon midfielder Horan to attain.
Lavelle hit the underside of the bar late on as Vietnam escaped with a creditable scoreline on their World Cup bow.