USA launch World Cup defence with victory over Vietnam


Sophia Smith of USA and Portland Thorns and Le Thi Diem My of Vietnam and Than Khoang San compete for the ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Spain and Costa Rica at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 21, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand.

United States launched their bid for an unprecedented third consecutive world crown with a comfortable win against Women’s World Cup debutants Vietnam in Auckland.

Sophia Smith struck twice before half-time for the the four-time world champions in front of thousands of travelling USA fans in a crowd of 41,107.

Smith, one of 14 players in the squad appearing at their first World Cup, fired the number one ranked team in the world ahead with a low drilled finish from an angle.

Her second was awarded following a lengthy check by the Video Assistant Referee for an offside before captain Lindsey Horan, after an assist by Smith, swept home the third in the 78th minute.

There was a memorable moment for keeper Kim Thanh when she was mobbed by her jubilant team-mates after keeping out Alex Morgan’s penalty which was awarded for a foul on Trinity Rodman.

Vietnam rarely managed to get out of their own half but they worked hard and produced a gritty defensive performance to keep the scoreline respectable.

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