Sophia Smith showcased her talent by scoring two goals in the first half, helping the two-time defending champions, USA, secure a 3-0 victory against first-time participants Vietnam in their opening match of the Women’s World Cup. Lindsey Horan also contributed a goal for the USA, who are aiming for an unprecedented three consecutive World Cup wins in this year’s tournament.
Vietnam put up a strong fight and managed to keep the game closer than anticipated, drawing comparisons to Thailand, whom the Americans defeated 13-0 in their 2019 World Cup opener. Goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh even stopped Alex Morgan’s penalty kick during the first half. However, Morgan persisted after the rebound, although she suffered a minor calf injury.
Sophia Smith, named Player of the Year and National Women’s Soccer League MVP last year, demonstrated her skills with two exceptional goals in the first half. Her first goal came off a pass from captain Lindsey Horan, and she repeated her success just before halftime, securing a 2-0 lead for the USA going into the break.
The USA team showcased an infusion of young talent, including Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman, after their disappointment of winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The experienced 38-year-old Megan Rapinoe marked her 200th international appearance against Vietnam.
Rapinoe, who scored in the World Cup final in France and was named the tournament’s best player, started as a substitute for this match. She recently announced that this would be her final World Cup and that she would retire from her professional team at the end of the season.
Rapinoe and midfielder Rose Lavelle, who both dealt with injuries leading up to the tournament, entered the match as substitutes in the 63rd minute. Rapinoe stood out with her vibrant blue hair.
Alyssa Thompson, the youngest player on the team at 18 years old, also joined as a second-half substitute.
Lindsey Horan sealed the victory with a goal into an open net, assisted by Smith as she skillfully navigated past the rushing goalkeeper. In celebration, Horan, who recently got engaged, kissed her ring.
What to watch on Sky Sports this week
The 151st Open – July 20 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Golf
Fourth Men’s Ashes Test – July 19 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
Premier League Summer Series – from July 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
Hungarian Grand Prix – July 21 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports F1
F1 Juniors: Hungarian GP – July 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Mix
World Matchplay Darts – July 17 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Women’s World Matchplay Darts – July 22 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator – July 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
What is the schedule?
The group stage has commenced and will span over a two-week period, ending on August 3. The group winners and runners-up will proceed to the round of 16, scheduled from August 5 to August 8.
The quarter-finals will take place in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane, and Sydney on August 11 and 12.
The first semi-final will be held on August 15 in Auckland, while the second semi-final will occur on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney. The final match will also be held at the Accor Stadium on August 20.
Additionally, a third-place play-off is scheduled for August 19 in Brisbane, a day before the final.