USA kicked off their FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over the debutant Vietnam. Embracing their pursuit for a third consecutive Women's World Cup title, the USA team showcased their strength right from the start. Sophia Smith wasted no time in providing USA with an expected early lead, highlighting the team's determination. Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Vietnamese defense, the scoreline was prevented from being even more lopsided. Notably, Sophia concluded the match with a magnificent brace and also contributed an assist to team captain Lindsey Horan. For all the thrilling highlights from the USA vs Vietnam match, be sure to check out our exhilarating LIVE blog below.
USA unleashed their explosive potential from the very start, leaving no room for doubt against a supposedly inferior Vietnam. True to expectations, USA's stellar player of the year, Sophia Smith, made a grand entrance into the FIFA Women's World Cup, netting her debut goal. A moment of sheer brilliance occurred when Savannah Demelo delivered a mesmerizing flick, finding Sophia at the edge of the box, who effortlessly guided the ball past Vietnamese goalkeeper, Thi Kim Thanh, sliding it between her legs.
Unfazed by Vietnam's resilient defense, USA relentlessly pressed forward, with each member of the opposing team giving their all to prevent the inevitable. But even the resolute defenders couldn't hold back the dynamic duo of Trinity Rodman and Alex Morgan, who persistently bombarded the goal. Sophia, too, joined the shooting spree, though initial attempts proved fruitless, until the crucial added minutes of the first half. Initially dismissed as offside, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) swiftly intervened, granting the well-deserved goal in favor of the reigning champions.
The Vietman experienced a truly glorious moment when goalkeeper Thi Kim Thanh bravely thwarted Alex Morgan's shot on goal during the 44th minute of the game. With sheer passion and spirit, Kim Thanh denied Alex Morgan the chance to score her 10th goal of her career in the World Cup.
With the aim to increase the defecit, USA again looked to attack right from the whistle. This time it was captain Lindsey Haron who found Alex Morgan on the edge of the box. However, Morgan could not convert it into a goal. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made a double change to bring Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle and that nearly had resulted into a goal for them. Megan, who were playing her 200th match for the stars and stripes, found a great ball from Rose but miscued the volley to shoot it over the bar.
Vietnam defenders kept on fighting against a barrage of attack from USA until Lindsey Horan found the ball at the center of the box, unmarked. A beautiful team goal for the USA saw Rose Lavelle giving a long ball to Sophia Smith who underucts it for an assist to captain Horan.
Stats: Alyssa Thompson, who is 18 years and 257 days old, becomes the second-youngest player to play in a Women's World Cup match for the USA. The youngest player was Tiffany Roberts, who was 18 years and 32 days old when she played against China PR in 1995.
Despite not being able to shoot a single ball on target, Vietnam can feel immense pride in their remarkable effort. The unwavering determination exhibited by the entire team in the face of a significantly stronger USA team is truly commendable. As for the USA, although they may have hoped to score more considering the tough group they were up against, a victory is still a victory, nonetheless.
"I feel good. I came into with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to help this team win and that's what I've done. I feel relieved because I was a bit anxious going into the tournament, so it's nice to have a win under our belts. It's so exciting to be at this World Cup. Every moment today was fun and the crowd was amazing. I think this has been a good way to start but I know we have more to give."Sophia Smith after her match-winning peformance against Vietnam
Kick-off: 6.30 am IST
Date: 22 July 2023
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.
The USA has an unbeaten record of 17 matches at the Women's World Cup (excluding the penalty shootouts), winning the last 12 in a row. Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung, who is 73 years and 31 days old, will be the oldest coach to lead a team in a Women's World Cup match. This record surpasses the previous record held by Brazil's Paulo Gonçalves, who was 66 years and 317 days old when Brazil played against Sweden on January 10, 2003.
If Naomi Girma plays the match against Vietnam, she will be the first-ever Ethiopian descent to play at the World Cup for US Women's National Team.
Playing XI: USA | Alyssa Naeher (Gk), Naomi Girma, Julie Ertz, Savannah Demlo, Lindsey Horan (C), Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Andi Sullivan, Crystal Dunn, Trinity Rodman, Fox Emily
Playing XI: Vietnam | Thi Kim Thanh Tran (Gk), Thi Thu Thuong Luong, Thi Thu Tran, Thi Loan Hoang, Thi Tuyet Dung, Nhu Huynh (C), Thi Hai Linh Tran, Thi Thao Thai, Thi Diem My Le, Thi Thu Trao Tran, Thi Bich Thuy Ngyuen
Here we GO!
Megan Rapione starts to warm up as we see not so good looking scene at the start of the game. Rodman is injured after a collision. with Thi Diem My Le She is okay now.
USA captain was on target from the edge of the box however the ref had already signalled a foul against Rodman Trinity. Vietnam goalkeeper Thi Kim Thanh Tran had it covered though.
It is Sophia Smith, the MVP of the USA, who scores her first world cup goal on her first appearance. A beautiful flick from Savannah Demelo and she finds Sophia at the edge of the box. Smith shoots it past Thi Kim Thanh Tran from the left of the box for the first goal of the match. And, surely, it will not be the last goal of the match.
Savannah Demelo could have made it 2-0 for the Champions. However, her shot is blocked by
Thi Thu Tran in the box.
Morgan's left-footed strike from the edge of the box goes wide. Vietnamese defenders were looking for offside but Morgan, this time, was on-side.
Another volley from captain Lindsey Horan who shoots it wide of the goalpost again. Vietnam players are finding it hard to get a touch on the ball.
The Vietnamese supporters are getting behind their team as we see USA Women's defender Julie Ertz getting injured while missing a header.
A VAR check is going on for a possible penalty for USA. Thi Loan Hoang was accused to foul Trinity Rodman.
Penalty is given to the USA team after the referre found Thi Loan guilty of fouling Rodman inside the box.
A brillaint save from Thi Kim Thanh to deny Alex Morgan from the spot. A poor penalty from Alex Morgan as well. Kim Thanh dives to the right and gets a leg in the middle of the goal to deflet the ball. A releif for the Asian team.
Alex Morgan was just offside before heading the ball towards Sophia Smith who sends the ball under the goalie!
Goal given after a VAR Check. Sophia Smith is now the leading scorer of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.
A miss by Sophia Smith. She misses the chance to convert her brace to a hat-trick. Vietnam are lucky to not concede this time.
A beautiful cross from Trinity Rodman had found the captain Lindsey Horan who volleys it wide of the goal. It could have been a great goal from the USA Women's captain.
A beautiful cross from Rose Lavelle who finds Megan Rapinoe on the edge of the box. However, Megan misscues the volley and shoots it wide.
Lindsey Horan makes it 3-0 for USA. A long ball Julie Ertz to find Sophia Smith who undercuts it to Horan. The captain does not miss it to score her debut world cup goal.
A powerful hit from the USA mid-fikeder from outside the box. The ball hits the bar and drops it just inside goalline to keep it 3-0 for USA.
9 minutes added to the second half.
Full time | USA 3-0 Vietnam
The champions start their campaign with a 3-0 goal win over the debutant. USA were treathing throuhout the 90-odd minutes but Vietnam can be very proud for the their effort and fighting spirit. To hold the reigning champions for a 3-0 defeat is indeed can be a very proud moment for all the Vietnemese supporters. Sophia Smith, with her two goals, is now the top scorer for FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.