USA clinches spot in World Cup knockout stage with win over Chile
Paris — Carli Lloyd scored a pair of goals for the United States in a somewhat subdued 3-0 victory over Chile that advanced the defending Women’s World Cup champions to the round of 16.
The Americans were criticized after their record-breaking 13-0 rout of Thailand when players celebrated goals even after the victory was well in hand. They were noticeably more muted in this one, and all three goals were in the first half.
Sweden also advanced out of Group F with a victory 5-1 victory over Thailand earlier Sunday in Nice. Japan, playing in Group D with England, also went through to the knockout stage because both the United States and Sweden won.
Lloyd earned the start after coming off the bench in the opener, and in the 11th minute became the first player to score in six straight World Cup matches.
She added another on a header off a corner in the 35th minute for her 10th career World Cup goal, which moved her into third on the all-time U.S. list behind Abby Wambach (14) and Michelle Akers (12).
Four years ago at the World Cup in Canada, Lloyd scored three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the finale to lead the United States to a 5-2 victory over Japan for the team’s third overall title.
She nearly got another hat trick – which would have made her the first player with two World Cups – but her penalty kick in the 81st minute went wide left.
“It’s haunting me right now,” Lloyd said. “Wasn’t good enough.”
The score could have been worse for Chile without unshakable goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who finished with six saves and fended off a flurry of U.S. shots in the second half.
“I think we would have definitely had a couple more in there if she had not come up with those big saves,” Lloyd said.
Endler, who was named player of the match, lamented the loss to the defending champions afterward.
“I thought it was a good game that we played, but obviously you saw how complicated it was for us as a team,” she said through a translator.
The Americans were blasted after their tournament-opening victory for the lopsided score, and overenthusiastic celebration, and the controversy clouded the run-up to Sunday’s game.
Several of the American players reached out to their Thai counterparts following the match. Lloyd exchanged encouraging words and tweets with goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, and FIFA posted an interview with Thailand’s coach thanking the U.S. players for being professional and playing well.
The United States set records for goals and margin of victory against Thailand. Alex Morgan tied the World Cup record for most individual goals with five, and she was among a record seven different scorers in a single game.
After such a rout, Jill Ellis made sweeping changes to the starting lineup against Chile with a new front line: Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory. Morgan was moved to the bench along with Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath.
Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out of the match against Thailand because of a minor quad injury, returned and anchored a backline that included 20-year-old Tierna Davidson, who was making her World Cup debut. Davidson is the youngest player to start for the United States in the World Cup since Tiffany Roberts against Norway in 1995.
Chile made just one lineup change, starting midfielder Claudia Soto in place of Yanara Aedo.
Chile lost its opener to Sweden 2-0 but goalkeeper Endler kept the Swedes out of the goal until 83rd minute. The second goal got past her in stoppage time. The 6-footer who plays for Paris Saint-Germain was solid again against the U.S., which peppered her with shots.
Julie Ertz scored in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick from Davidson that Endler got her hands on but couldn’t stop. It was her first World Cup goal and came with her husband Zach Ertz, a tight-end for the Philadelphia Eagles, looking on.
Endler was able to prevent Lloyd from another attempt at a hat trick when she tipped the U.S. captain’s shot over the net in the 72nd minute.
USA vs. Sweden
What: Third and final Group F match for USA in Women’s World Cup
When: Thursday, 3 p.m.
Where: Le Havre
Next: USA moves to knockout stage against opponent to be determined