Even with a number of starters sitting out, US dominates
If anyone needed proof the United States could field at least two teams worthy of competing in the Women’s World Cup, it was on display during Day 10 of the tournament. Coach Jill Ellis made seven changes to the lineup Sunday as the Americans took a 3-0 win over Chile in Paris in a dominating performance that might have been a double-figure result if not for the goalkeeping of Christiane Endler.
Now, the US team will prepare to meet Sweden on Thursday in Le Havre for first place in Group F. The team should be plenty rested. The starters coasted through a 13-0 kick-around with Thailand, then took Sunday off.
The Swedes had their own chance for a kickabout with the Thais, taking a 5-1 victory in Nice.
■ Some countries are scrambling to assemble a credible group worthy of competing in the WWC, Chile among them. The Americans’ plethora of talent was in evidence as five players made their World Cup debuts. Carli Lloyd (11th and 35th minutes), a reserve in the opener, and Julie Ertz (26th) provided the scoring in the first half. Questionable officiating decisions aided the United States, which was awarded two controversial corner kicks, Ertz converting on one, and gained a late penalty kick, missed by Lloyd.
■ Endler, a 5-foot-11½-inch keeper with Paris Saint-Germain via the University of South Florida, single-handedly kept the score down. She saved a close-in Lloyd attempt off a near own goal (fourth minute) and made four stops on Christen Press between the 48th and 74th minutes. Endler recovered to be in position on a Lloyd header that hit the underside of the bar (72d), then dove the right direction as Lloyd missed wide on an 81st-minute penalty.
German referee Riem Hussein signaled the penalty after a VAR review, though Yessenia Huenteo’s foul appeared to have been committed on the edge of the penalty area.
The US team defeated Chile by scores of 3-0 and 4-0 last year, Endler saving an Alex Morgan penalty kick in the second game.
■ The US team could expect more precise finishing from Morgan, Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe, plus defenders Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara, and midfielder Sam Mewis — all first-game starters. When the United States did find Endler down or out of position, they misfired — on Lindsey Horan’s second-half attempt, she failed to place her shot high, allowing Endler to recover with a kick save.
■ Sweden defender Linda Sembrant capitalized on a 4-inch height advantage on Thai goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying to convert a header for a sixth-minute opening score. After that, it seemed Sweden could name the score, but the Thais mostly remained composed, and even sent a physical message at least once, leaving forward Lina Hurtig down for an extended period.
Thailand’s Kanjana Sung-Ngoen scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute, the Thais’ first goal in the competition since a 3-2 win over Ivory Coast in the 2015 WWC.
Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson brought on Madelen Janogy after halftime and will likely have to get her in sooner — like at the start of the game — when the Swedes get into elimination situations.
■ Germany vs. South Africa, Group B, Montpellier — The Germans can give Dzsenifier Marozsan rest as she recovers from a broken toe sustained in the opener against China. This is a chance for young players such as midfielders Giulia Gwinn, 19, and Lena Oberdorf, 17, plus forwards Klara Buhl, 18, and Lea Schuller, 21, to gain experience.
■ China vs. Spain, Group B, Le Havre — A battle for second place in the group, which will mean a second-round meeting with either the United States or Sweden.
■ France vs. Nigeria, Group A, Rennes — If France earns a draw and wins the group, Les Bleues move closer to a possible quarterfinal showdown with the United States. Eugenie Le Sommer and Gaetane Thiney have played 13 WWC matches, one behind France record-holder and Boston College graduate Laura Georges.
■ Norway vs. South Korea, Group A, Reims — The Norwegians have the inside track on second place, which would mean a second-round match with Australia, Brazil, or Italy. The Taegun Ladies have compiled a 289-minute scoreless streak spanning two WWCs.