PARIS — It may have received some criticism for the ruthless dismantling of Thailand in its opening game at the Women’s World Cup but the USWNT was in no mood to go easy on Chile.
Despite resting a number of key players, such as striker Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, the reigning world champion took just 11 minutes to find the breakthrough on its way to a record-breaking seventh consecutive World Cup win.
As against Thailand, the USWNT were completely dominant and by half-time were leading 3-0. Somewhat surprisingly, Jill Ellis’ side failed to score in the second half despite relentless waves of attack.
In truth, the score could have been a lot worse had it not been for the impressive Christiane Endler, who marshaled her goal stoically in the face of constant pressure.
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“Every player wants the same thing and they want to play maximum minutes and that’s what you want as a coach for sure,” said US coach Jill Ellis after the match, before praising the opposition.
“Endler was fantastic, we were aware of her skill, she’s a world-class goalkeeper. I thought their spirit was magnificent, total credit to Chile.”
Having watched its opponents thump Thailand 13-0, Chile must have been dreading facing this particular Goliath.
Ranked as the 39th best team in the world by FIFA, five places lower than Thailand, Chile is making its first appearance in a Women’s World Cup and might have been buoyed when it was revealed USWNT coach Ellis had sent out a second-string side.
Only four players kept their place in the starting line-up from the Thailand demolition but Chile could do very little to stem the tide against a USWNT side intent on securing qualification for the knockout stages as quickly as possible.
Even without Morgan, who netted five times in the opening group game, the USWNT looked threatening from the outset as it created three chances within the first three minutes of the match.
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USWNT was simply bigger, faster and more experienced than its opponents and veteran striker Carli Lloyd sent a wicked shot flying into the back of the net to begin the rout.
Just when it looked as though the US had lost its rhythm, up popped Julie Ertz to double the lead with a superbly taken header before Lloyd followed suit to add a third before the break.
Endler continued to shine in the second half, producing a string of stunning saves to prevent USWNT from totting up another dizzying score.
“I’m sad for the defeat, but happy for my performance,” the Paris Saint-Germain Feminines keeper said, after picking up the Player of the Match award.
“I prepared intensely this last year to come to the World Cup and perform to the best of my ability. It’s a mix of feelings, but I’m satisfied to have played like this, especially here, at this stadium that’s my home.”
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The frame of the goal also came to Chile’s rescue as the USWNT rattled the woodwork on numerous occasions.
Lloyd, the first player to score in six consecutive Women’s World Cup matches, also failed to complete a hattrick after dragging a controversial penalty wide of the post.
Sunday’s comfortable win secures the USWNT a place in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Chile has now lost both of its two group games and will hope for a better result in its final fixture against Thailand, who were beaten 5-1 by Sweden earlier on Sunday.