U.S. midfielder Sam Mewis was answering a question about Alex Morgan’s incredible performance against Thailand on Tuesday night and said, “Alex getting four goals was crazy.”
Several media members interrupted her. Actually, it was five goals.
“She got five goals?!” Mewis exclaimed with genuine surprise. “Oh, my god, I thought she got four. That’s wild!”
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It was that kind of night for the U.S. women’s national team in its World Cup opener.
MORE: The incredible stats behind the USWNT’s historic opener
After leading 3-0 at halftime, the USWNT unleashed a dizzying barrage of 10 second-half goals on their overmatched opponents, winning by an incredible 13-0 scoreline.
It was the largest margin of victory in World Cup history, men’s or women’s, outpacing Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in the 2007 Women’s World Cup.
“We always want to have any world record and anything we can get over the Germans, we’ll take it,” U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe quipped after the game.
The margin of victory became more and more of a talking point as the U.S. tallied goal after goal in a prolific second-half performance that solidified their status as the tournament’s co-favorites, alongside France.
But in any result so lopsided, the question becomes inevitable: Was it overkill?
The easy answer is no. In a World Cup group stage, goal differential is the first tiebreaker, meaning the U.S. had every right to continue scoring, a fact their players were quick to highlight after the game.
“It is a tournament and goal difference matters so at the end of the day, you can’t feel bad for scoring as many goals as possible in whatever game you’re playing,” U.S. right back Kelley O’Hara said.
“If you’re just knocking it around the back and playing keepaway, that’s not the best form, especially in a tournament.”
Rapinoe concurred with her teammate.
“I do agree with Kelley, you don’t want to really take your foot off [the pedal] like that, you don’t want to pass the ball around in your own half for 30 minutes,” she said.
Still, it was clear that many American players felt bad for their Thai counterparts, many of whom left the pitch in tears.
One of those players was Miranda Nild, and American-born Thailand forward who plays at Morgan’s alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.
Morgan, who was seen consoling Nild after the game, was asked what she said to her fellow Golden Bear.
“I told her that it’s a dream of all of ours to play in a World Cup and she has at least three games and this is game one. She still has two games to showcase herself, to get some goals.
“She’s a quality player and to stay encouraged through this tournament, because she’s living out a dream that most girls and women don’t get to.”
Mewis, who scored two goals on the night, was asked if she felt sorry for Thailand. After a long pause to think, Mewis decided to simply offer words of encouragement to the USWNT’s badly beaten opposition.
“I give Thailand a lot of credit,” Mewis said. “It’s a World Cup and we just had to play our game but I think they can definitely rally, they have two more games and they definitely could perform in those games.
“I think this scoreline doesn’t depict exactly what they can do because if you look at their recent record I think they’ve done really well.”
For Thailand, it can only go up from here. As for the USWNT, they’ll move on with nothing to apologize for after a record-setting night.
“When you’re playing in a World Cup, every single goal may count at the end of the day,” Morgan said. “That’s what we were told before the game and that’s why we had to keep going.”`