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Auckland, July 22 – Reigning champions the United States got their title defense underway at Eden Park as they dominated Vietnam 3-0 in a Group E match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup here on Saturday, with Sophia Smith scoring two and setting up another.
Having won the last two editions of the tournament and four titles overall, the US are considered as the most successful team in the campaign, while Vietnam have made history by qualifying for a men’s or women’s World Cup final stage for the first time, reports Xinhua.
Megan Rapinoe was benched with Alex Morgan starting up in front for the US, while Vietnam fielded a 5-4-1 formation.
As expected, Vietnam were majorly outclassed and could hardly string together a run of play, while the US put together a series of chances and went ahead in the 14th minute when Morgan’s smart back-heeled pass found Smith, who beat Tran Thi Kim Thanh with an angle drive.
Trinity Rodman was tripped down by Hoang Thi Loan in the 37th minute. The referee waved play on, but after a long VAR check, the US were awarded a penalty. However, Morgan’s weak attempt was denied by Tran.
Smith bagged her second goal during the injury time. It was initially wiped out due to Morgan’s position in the buildup, but the goal stood after the VAR intervened again.
The defending champions continued their dominance after the break but were less clinical. Rapinoe was introduced in the 61st minute, making her 200th appearance for the national team.
The US added another in the 77th minute when Smith outpaced the defender on the right flank, assisting Lindsey Horan to sweep it in.
The US will meet the Netherlands next Thursday, while Vietnam take on Portugal.