Alex Morgan will be the lone Cal Bears to advance to the knockout stage.
You might expect USWNT head coach Jill Ellis to play Alex Morgan more in those upcoming matches. Alex Morgan has played exactly half of the USA matches so far. The entire match vs. Thailand and the first half against Sweden today. Her tournament leading 5 goals all came against Thailand in the opener.
USA 2, Sweden 0
USWNT was able to avenge for their 2016 Rio Olympics quarterfinal loss in shootout. In the 3rd minute, Lindsay Horan (who famously turned pro out of high school rather than to go to college) scored the first goal. USWNT got a gift own goal in the 2nd half for the final result.
Thailand 0, Chile 2
Thailand played spoiler in keeping the Chileans out of the round of 16. Chile needed to score 3 goals to advance but only got 2 second half goals. While Cal alum Miranda Nild, who got switched to more of a midfield role after the first match against USA, nearly had an assist on a Thai chance, she will leave her first (of many?) Women’s World Cup goalless.
With Australia’s (and NWSL) superstar Sam Kerr scoring 4 goals the other day, Cal alum Alex Morgan has some competition for the 2019 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot. Morgan, coming off a 5-goal opening match and then rest against Chile, should be back in the starting XI for the USWNT as they seek revenge against a Sweden club that knocked them out of medal contention at the 2016 Olympics (that defensive match, led to Washington alum and former USWNT goalie Hope Solo to call the Swedes “cowards”, went to a shootout where Morgan missed her penalty kick).
Speaking of goals, Alex Morgan’s Orlando Pride (her NWSL team) teammate Marta just scored her 17th overall goal in the world cup. Morgan is up to 8 goals now after that 5 goal outburst. That’s another big achievement for Alex Morgan to chase in her career.
Should USA win or draw to win Group F today, they will face Spain in the Round of 16 and a possible match against France in the quarterfinal stage. A loss would likely means a date with Germany in the quarterfinal stage. *The knockout stage placement is kind of weird and not set by the overall finish in the group stage. You can find more info here.
As for Thailand, their bad goal differential will likely keep them out of the Round of 16 (although 538 still gives them 9% chance). Thailand mostly need a draw between New Zealand and Cameroon to advance by beating Chile (what a story would that be!). Otherwise, Thailand would need to do to Chile, what the USA did to the Thais in the opening match, to save that point differential to advance. I think Thailand would be very very happy if they can pull off a W today; it would be super sweet if Cal alum Miranda Nild can score a goal (and earn a NWSL audition).
These two matches are played simultaneously.
Final day of the group stage is here!— Cal Women's Soccer (@CalWSoc) June 20, 2019
⚽️ #NZL vs #CMR
⏰ 9am PT
@betsyhassett12 & @CleverleyDaisy
⚽️ #USA vs #SWE
⏰ 12pm PT
⚽️ #THA vs #CHI
⏰ 12pm PT
@mnild_8 #GoBears x #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/wp8fHLRv36
USA (2-0-0) vs. Sweden (2-0-0)
Where: Le Havre, France
When: 12 pm PT
Cal Bear: Alex Morgan (USA)
Thailand (0-2-0) vs. Chile (0-2-0)
Where: Rennes, France
When: 12 pm PT
Cal Bear: Miranda Nild (USA)
GO ALEX! GO MIRANDA!