What to know about the Women’s World Cup, USA vs. Vietnam
- The two-time defending champion United States started its quest for a third-consecutive World Cup title with a 3-0 win over newcomer Vietnam.
- Sophia Smith dropped in two goals in the first half in her World Cup debut.
- Team captain Lindsey Horan sealed the victory with a second-half goal.
- Team USA takes the field again at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday against Netherlands.
- The World Cup champion will be crowned Aug. 20 at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Next up for USWNT: Netherlands on Wednesday
The U.S. Women’s National Team will next play Netherlands at 9 p.m. ET. Wednesday.
A teen makes her debut and comes close to the record books
Subbing in late in the game, recent high school graduate Alyssa Thompson is the second-youngest player ever on the U.S. Women's World Cup team.
The Los Angeles native is older than fellow Californian Tiffany Roberts was in the 1995 World Cup.
U.S. beats Vietnam 3-0
The U.S. won its first match of the 2023 World Cup Friday, besting Vietnam in its debut game 3-0.
Forward Sophia Smith earned two goals in her first World Cup. Captain Lindsey Horan, appearing in her second cup, also scored.
The defending champions dominated Vietnam, earning 26 shots, with six on target. Vietnam didn’t get a single shot.
The U.S. plays the Netherlands on Wednesday in a rematch of the 2019 championship, a game the U.S. won 2-0.
Messi comes through with the winning goal in Miami debut
Lionel Messi did not start in his first game with Inter Miami FC, but after he made a decisive impact in the second half.
Messi scored the game-winning goal on a free kick against Mexico’s Cruz Azul, sending his team ahead 2-1.
Messi kicked it high and in the left corner to score, and the crowd erupted.
40,000 fans pack in for match
More than 40,000 fans are in the stadium for the USA-Vietnam match — 41,107 to be exact.
That's the number Eden Park, New Zealand's National Stadium, showed the crowd during second-half action.
The seating capacity is just under 50,000 seats, according to Eden Park's website.
Rocking Mountain high in New Zealand
Colorado 3, Vietnam 0.
Windsor native Sophia Smith scored twice before assisting on America's third goal, from Golden's Lindsey Horan.
Lindsey Horan bolsters U.S. lead with second-half goal
Lindsey Horan, 29, scored the U.S.'s third goal.
Team USA now leads 3-0.
The score is close, but the other metrics are not
With less than 20 minutes of regulation play left, the United States is controlling play more than the scoreboard indicates.
The Americans have had the ball for two-thirds of the time and have 23 shots, five on target.
Vietnam has no shots, but only trails, 2-0, with at least 17 minutes of regular time left.
With a 2-0 lead, second gentleman makes some noise
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff is turning into a super fan.
He's been spending time with the U.S. Team and showing them lots of love on social media.
"Halftime. 2-0. Let’s go, @USWNT!" he tweeted.
Rapinoe makes her entrance
Though American soccer icon Megan Rapinoe’s time on the world pitch is winding down to just a few more precious matches, she didn't start tonight.
She came in about 60 minutes into the game, and the crowd made sure to show her their appreciation. It marked her 200th international game.
Rapione, 38, announced earlier this month that she’s retiring at the end of 2023, so her World Cup career could last as long as Aug. 20, should the United States reach the title match.
As the United States prepares for its opener against Vietnam, Rapinoe has a minimum of three matches left to play and up to seven total, should the Americans advance all the way to the final or third-place match.
Lindsey Horan gets game's first yellow card
U.S. Captain Lindsey Horan was given the match’s first yellow card for a high boot.
The penalty came roughly 11 minutes into the second half.
More on Sophia Smith, USWNT's breakout star
Sophia Smith, the 22-year-old player who has scored the only goals so far in Team USA’s World Cup game against Vietnam, is the first person born in this century to earn a “cap” for the U.S. Women's National Team.
A “cap” refers to an international game. Smith is from Windsor, Colo., and plays for the Portland Thorns FC in Oregon, according to her bio.
She was named BioSteel U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year last year, when she scored a team-high 11 goals with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
She has two older sisters and played two seasons at Stanford University, including in 2019 when the Cardinals won the NCAA championship. Her hobbies include reading and interior design.
"I always wanted to be some sort of professional athlete, or an interior designer with my own HGTV show," she said in an intro video. She described her style as "very minimal, and clean."
Who are the 14 USWNT players competing in the World Cup for the first time?
The first-time World Cup competitors from Team USA are Aubrey Kingsbury, Casey Murphy, Alana Cook, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Savannah DeMelo, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson and Lynn Williams.
President Clinton ready to party like it's 1999
Football Ferns riding high after emotional win for New Zealand
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The Football Ferns were vibing to the music on the team bus as it pulled away after New Zealand’s first-ever Women’s World Cup victory. The blasting song, appropriately enough, was Outkast’s “The Way You Move.”
The Ferns certainly appear to be on the move.
With a 1-0 victory over Group A favorites Norway secured, New Zealand is in good position to advance to the knockout stage — a massive achievement for the tournament co-hosts, who had never won a match at the World Cup before Thursday night.
It was a monumental victory for women’s soccer in a nation that is better known for it’s love of rugby. More than 42,000 fans were at the game, making it the biggest crowd ever for a men’s or women’s soccer match in New Zealand.
New Zealand now turns to a match Tuesday against tournament rookies the Philippines in Wellington. Norway plays Switzerland in Hamilton.
Soccer isn't just for humans
The Cincinnati Zoo is getting in on the excitement, posting a photo of its 13-year-old cheetah, Nia, playing with her soccer ball.
The Zoo tweeted in support of Rose Lavelle, a USWNT midfielder and Cincinnati native.
U.S. goes into locker room up by 2
At the half, the U.S. leads Vietnam 2-0.
Sophia Smith is breaking out, it seems; in her World Cup debut, she's scored twice.
The second goal had been under review, but was ultimately deemed successful.
Team USA also had one penalty kick by Alex Morgan, but Vietnam's goalkeeper Kim Thanh Tran blocked the shot.
Vietnam didn't get a shot on goal in first half
Vietnam didn’t earn a shot on goal during the first half.
The U.S., who was leading 2-0 at halftime, had 17 shots and five that were on goal.
Sophia Smith, of Windsor, Colo., had both goals in her World Cup debut.
Sophia Smith gave 'em something to celebrate — twice
Team USA and its fans are taking to Twitter to celebrate the first U.S. goal of the World Cup, scored by Sophia Smith.
"SOPHIA SMITH, WELCOME TO THE WORLD CUP," USWNT tweeted.
#USWNT is trending on Twitter with Sophia Smith and #FIFAWWC.
Fans are joining in on the Smith celebration.
"SOPHIA SMITH AKA SCORING GOALS IS AN INEVITABLE FACET OF MY EXISTENCE LETS GOOOO," tweeted author Clint Smith.
Sophia Smith does it again, pushes U.S. to 2-0
Sophia Smith is on a roll, scoring her second goal of the game.
The point was delayed by review, but ultimately ruled valid.
Alex Morgan misses penalty kick
U.S. star Alex Morgan missed a penalty kick minutes before halftime.
Vietnam’s goalkeeper, Kim Thanh Tran, blocked the high-scoring forward, keeping the score 1-0, with the U.S. on top.
10 attempts at goal for U.S.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — More than 30 minutes into the game, the U.S. has had 10 attempts at goal.
Meanwhile ... Messi makes his U.S. debut
In soccer news on the other side of the world, Argentinian soccer legend Lionel Messi has kicked off his equally anticipated debut match for Inter Miami CF against the Mexican team Cruz Azul.
He didn't start tonight, but has been subbed in.
The superstar's move has sparked what some have dubbed "Messi mania" — an unprecedented level of excitement over Major League Soccer driven by a largely Latino fanbase.
World Cup vet Alex Morgan says don't compare this year to past runs
Alex Morgan is a captain on the team, along with midfielder Lindsey Horan, and is competing in her fourth World Cup. She won the Silver Boot at the 2019 tournament and scored six goals while assisting on another three.
The 34-year-old explained earlier this month how the team is approaching this tournament as separate from its past victorious runs.
"I think a lot of fans talk about it, but this team, we have 14 first-timers for the World Cup and we see this as our own journey,” Morgan said. “Each four-year block is its own; we’re coming to the end of this four-year block after the World Cup.”
Team USA taking its cues from head coach Vlatko Andonovski
Vlatko Andonovski is the head coach of the USWNT. He took over the role in October 2019, months after the team won the World Cup that summer.
"All of the talented coaches and players that have come before have built a legendary tradition of excellence and I’m committed to working very hard to continue to move this program forward," he said then.
Andonovski hand-picked a roster of 23 for the 2023 World Cup in June, including 14 players competing in the World Cup for the first time, which Andonovski is, too.
Building the roster wasn’t easy, Andonovski said in a statement.
"I’m proud of the players for their work ethic and focus during the process and of our coaching staff for doing the work to put together the best team possible," he said.
"It’s the players that make the biggest impact on our environment, they push each other to be better and I know as a group they are extremely motivated to make our country proud at the World Cup," he continued.
Sophia Smith scores first goal for U.S.
Sophia Smith earned the first U.S. goal against Vietnam. The 22-year-old forward scored 14 minutes into the first half.
The goal marked her first in the World Cup and her 13th in an international game.
‘A Team’ strongman Mr. T confident in USA win
Mr. T was again supporting Team USA.
“Yes! I do Believe our US Women’s Soccer Team will win Three Straight World Cups! I’ll be Rooting, Stopping and Jumping as our Ladies take the Field. USA All The Way!” he tweeted.
Mr. T, who played B.A. Baracus on “The A-Team” television series, has been a vocal supporter of American athletes.
He congratulated the USA women’s beach volleyball team of April Ross and Alix Klineman (who were also called the A Team), after they won Olympic Gold in 2021, and he expressed his love of curling during the 2022 Beijing Games.
With tonight's matchup, powerhouse takes on a first-timer
Tonight's opening group-play match between the world's No. 1, Team USA, and Vietnam could not be a sharper contrast between establishment and newcomer.
Not only has the United States won the past two tournaments, the American trophy case has titles from 1991 and 1999 before these consecutive championships of 2015 and 2019.
And even years when the United States hasn’t won it all, those tournaments have been filled with U.S. drama — such as Japan’s 2011 championship victory over America in penalties and the 2007 third-place finish, best known for the benching of goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Vietnam, though considered the best women’s soccer in southeast Asia, is making its maiden journey in this tournament.
Other first-time participants include Haiti, Morocco, Ireland, Panama, the Philippines, Portugal and Zambia.
Trinity Rodman goes down seconds into the game
Trinity Rodman was injured only seconds into her debut World Cup match. She left the field but was out only briefly.
All about the game day look
Team USA athletes are wearing their home uniforms for their first match. The white top with a blue "drip paint technique pattern" features gold branding "as a nod to the team being the four-time World Cup champions," the team said in a statement.
The away "loyal blue" uniforms feature a stars-and-stripe print on the sleeve cuffs and red blades along the neckline, "formed to look like the tip of stars," the release said.
U.S. goalkeepers wear "Opti Yellow, Taxi, Stadium Green or Blue Chill."
U.S. vs. Vietnam officially underway
The first game for the U.S. in the 2023 Women's World Cup is officially underway, with Vietnam kicking off against the defending champions at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
The match marks Vietnam’s debut in the World Cup, while the U.S. is hoping for its fifth championship since 1991 and the tournament’s first-ever three-peat.
A look at who is on the field for Team USA:
When to see Team USA in action
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) is looking to make history as the first team to win three straight Women’s World Cups.
To do so, Team USA will first have to make it out of the group stage: They're playing in Group E with the Netherlands, Portugal and Vietnam.
They are set to compete:
Tonight (9 p.m. ET) against Vietnam
Wednesday (9 p.m. ET) against the Netherlands
Tuesday (3 a.m. ET) against Portugal
No doubt about who the White House is rooting for
Vietnam's path to the World Cup
Vietnam qualified for the tournament through last year’s Women’s Asian Cup. The Vietnamese were knocked out in the quarterfinals by China, putting them into a round-robin playoff. They then defeated Thailand and Taiwan. Both opponents were struggling with COVID-19 issues at the time.
“We will try our best so that we can bring the image of Vietnam to the world,” coach Mai Duc Chung said. “I hope that this journey will be an inspiration for the development of Vietnamese football in the future.”
Southeast Asian soccer, especially women’s soccer, is underdeveloped compared to global powers in the sport. Vietnam’s first women’s national team was formed in 1997, and Huynh Nhu is the only player who competes outside the country. She plays for Länk FC Vilaverdense in Portugal’s top soccer league.
What's it like at Eden Park?
Team U.S. and Vietnam will face off at Eden Park, the National Stadium of New Zealand.
The stadium in Aukland is the home of New Zealand's Rugby and Cricket teams and has hosted both the Women's Cricket World Cup and the Women's Rugby World Cup.
In recent years, it's also hosted the Maori performing arts festival and competition Te Matatini, which celebrates the traditional art of kapa haka dance.
It's currently winter in New Zealand, and fans and players can expect an overcast afternoon with highs in the mid-50s.
And they're off ...
Team USA is making its way toward the pitch.
The athletes departed for their match in their official custom World Cup suits, a collaboration between Nike and British-Jamaican designer Martine Rose.
Goalkeeper who helped U.S. win last two World Cup says Team USA 'will deliver'
Canada held to a 0-0 draw by Nigeria
MELBOURNE, Australia — Olympic champion Canada was held to a 0-0 draw by Nigeria in its Women’s World Cup opener after Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made several key saves, including one on a penalty from Christine Sinclair.
It was a crucial miss for Sinclair, the 40-year-old Canadian who is the leading all-time scorer in international soccer, men or women, with 190 goals. Aiming to be the oldest player to score at the Women’s World Cup, she also missed a chance in the 9th minute when she was unmarked at the edge of the box but misfired.
Nnadozie, who plays in France for Paris FC, was voted Player of the Match.
President Biden: Cheerleader in chief
In a video posted this morning, President Joe Biden cheered on the team: "You're going to do this."
Switzerland beats Philippines 2-0 in opener
DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Ramona Bachmann drilled her penalty kick into the left side of the net moments before halftime to set up Switzerland’s 2-0 win over Philippines on Friday in the Women’s World Cup opener for both teams.
Switzerland’s Seraina Piubel added a second-half goal, scoring on the rebound from a missed shot by Coumba Sow that ricocheted off Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.
The Group A encounter was the first game inside Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, the tournament’s only indoor venue. The crowd’s cheers echoed around the walls of the roughly half-full stadium, with an attendance of 13,711 in a venue that can fit over 30,000.
While they have your attention ...
"On the field or at the ballot box, give it your all," Megan Rapinoe says.
She's among TEAM USA stars who are making a pitch for voting in a PSA from former First Lady Michelle Obama's national, nonpartisan effort to boost voting and voter registration.
Crystal Dunn and Andi Sullivan also are speaking out for When We All Vote, an organization that aims to increase voter registration and participation, especially among young people and people of color.
With 3-0 win in wintry Wellington, Spain sets the standard
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — When Alexis Putellas finally made her entry into Spain’s opener at the Women’s World Cup against Costa Rica, the match was already won.
The two-time Ballon d’Or winner waited 77 minutes to leave the bench, enter the tournament and provide an early answer to questions about her fitness after her long recuperation from injury.
Putellas damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee just before Spain’s European Championship campaign last year, returned for the first time in April and has been played sparingly since, mostly from the bench.
Her appearance in the 3-0 win at Wellington on a night of stinging rain and cold was an affirmation of her fitness, the promise of better things to come as the tournament proceeds and the last component of a triumphant night for Spain.
Three goals in less than five minutes in the middle of a first half in which they enjoyed extraordinary dominance of possession and freedom on attack carried Spain to a 3-0 lead over Costa Rica by halftime. That lead endured for all of the second half, though Spain finished with 45 shots on goal, an extraordinary total.
A brief history of the women's fight for equal pay
It’s been just 1 ½ years since the U.S. women’s soccer team reached an agreement with the governing U.S. Soccer Federation following a lawsuit over unequal pay with men.
The USSF agreed to pay the women’s and men’s national teams equally for future friendlies and international tournaments, such as the World Cup.
The previous unequal pay had long been a sore point for American women, who have built the world’s most powerful program with four World Cup titles. The U.S. men, meanwhile, had their best showing at the 1930 World Cup, taking third place, but have otherwise never come close to a title.
Second gentleman getting in the spirit in New Zealand
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has been gearing up for tonight's matchup. He led the presidential delegation to the opening ceremony and will attend tonight's match against Vietnam.
He's been spending time with the U.S. athletes, too. Yesterday, Emhoff tweeted a picture of him posing with the team.
"@USWNT, the whole country is rooting for you. Let’s go Team USA!" he said.
Earlier this week, Emhoff shared a video of him Facetiming with the team.
"You will hear me with all those people in the stands," Emhoff said to the players in the video. "I will be loud and cheering you on for everyone that couldn't make it back home."
LGBTQ athletes make history
A record number of out LGBTQ athletes are competing in this year’s Women’s World Cup.
At least 87 out athletes will compete — more than double the 38 who played in the last Women’s World Cup, in 2019, according to the LGBTQ sports website Outsports. That means more than 1 in 10 of this year’s 736 Women’s World Cup players — a whopping 11.8% — openly identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer or nonbinary.
Fun fact: Brazil currently holds the title for the most out queer players on its roster, with nine out of 23 identifying as LGBTQ, according to Outsports.
Just four countries have ever won
Only four teams have ever won the Women's World Cup.
Most recently, the United States scored back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2019, but also had two trophies before that from 1991 and 1999.
Germany has won it twice: in 2003 and 2007.
And Norway and Japan have each gone home the big winner one time. Norway in 1995 and Japan in 2011.
The 411 on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The once-every-four-years tournament is being played in Australia and New Zealand. Play got underway yesterday and won't wrap up till Aug. 20, when a new champion is crowned at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Up to 83,500 fans can fill the stadium, which has previously been in the spotlight of international sports competition: In 2000, it hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games.