USWNT Can Still 'Refine and Polish' After 13-0 Thailand Rout, Says Jill Ellis

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Megan Rapinoe of USA and teammates celebrate a goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

The United States Women's National Team opened their FIFA Women's World Cup title defence with a record-breaking 13-0 win over Thailand on Tuesday, but coach Jill Ellis still expects her side to improve.

The USA notched the biggest margin of victory at either the men's or the women's World Cup as they sent out a warning in France to any potential challengers. 

Per Goal's James Willoughby, Ellis said:

"We're going to sit and look at some film. There's always things you can refine and polish.

"I'm not sure exactly what our next opponent [Chile] will do, but teams sit low and it invites us on top of them a lot. 

"It [this win] is how you want to start a tournament. You want to have that [winning] feeling. 

"It's having players feeling good about the game. It is about building momentum, getting that first game under your belt—that feeling—that's going to be the biggest takeaway for us." 

Despite the one-sided nature of the victory, Ellis is confident her players won't get carried away because "they understand that the mission matters most."

Per BBC Sport, Ellis added that she "was in tears watching them," and felt the performance "verifies who we picked."

She also defended her team's relentless pursuit of goals after they netted 10 times in the second half, per ProSoccerUSA's Alicia Rose DelGallo:

Alex Morgan plundered a five-goal haul, and Ellis was pleased with her performance: "I thought she was tight and tidy in the box. I thought she pulled the trigger well and again, [produced] some world-class finishes."

Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis netted a brace apiece, while Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd also got in on the action.

Here's a look at the highlights (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

The USWNT's next opponents, Chile, are ranked 39th in the world by FIFA—five places lower than Thailand.

La Roja Femenina put in a much better showing than Thailand on Tuesday, though, as ninth-ranked Sweden needed two late goals to see them off.

The United States should have little trouble beating Chile, and their confidence will be sky-high after such a dominant opener.

However, there's not a great deal to be gleaned from such a one-sided match.

Thailand's defending was virtually non-existent, and the USA were so in control they were able to leave Abby Dahlkemper back as their sole defender at times while the rest of their back line pushed up in support of the attack.

Against Sweden and in the knockout phase they'll face much sterner tests. Morgan and Co. won't have nearly as much time or space on the ball as they received on Tuesday, so Ellis' work to refine their play further will help.

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