Sport is more often than not a brutal place for the underdog. There should always be hope, of course, but it is usually the Goliaths who win.
Just ask Thailand, whose players will be chasing red-shirted American behemoths in their nightmares for a number of nights to come.
The 13-0 scoreline was a true reflection of the match. It was a thumping. It was a night that records tumbled as Thailand suffered the heaviest defeat in World Cup history.
As the US and Thailand walked out onto the field for their opening match of the Women’s World Cup, the difference in the physical statures of the opposing players was startlingly apparent. Not long after the final notes of the national anthems had faded into the ether so the difference in quality became obvious, too.
It took just 12 minutes for the defending champions to open the scoring, Alex Morgan scoring home a header from four yards. That only Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan had added to the scoreline by halftime was the real surprise of the night.
After the break, the goals quickly came — four in the space of six minutes, raising the decibels inside Stade Auguste-Delaune, a stadium which had turned red, white and blue for the evening.
Alex Morgan ended the evening with five — Michelle Akers is the only other American to score five in a World Cup match — while Samantha Mewis scored a brace and captain Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also contributed to the astonishing scoreline. The odds had always been against Thailand. The bookies’ thought so, the fans thought so and so did the experts.
This was the world’s most successful country in Women’s World Cup history, winners of three previous editions of this tournament and favorites in France for a fourth, going up against a nation which was competing in just its second World Cup.
It was No.1 in the world versus No. 34 and these sorts of contests usually end one way, though not quite so savagely. In truth, the gulf between the teams was bigger than the world ranking would suggest.
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