8 June 2015, Vancouver. Defending 2011 World Cup winners Japan kick off their campaign in the seventh tournament with a narrow-win over Group C rivals Switzerland. Only a first-half penalty marks the difference.
12 June 2019, Reims. Defending 2015 World Cup winners the USA produce a 13-0 savaging of Thailand to record the largest margin of victory in the history of both the women’s and men's FIFA tournament.
It swats aside the 10-1 Switzerland women’s demolition of Ecuador, and Germany’s 10-0 victory over the Ivory Coast in the group stages of the 2015 tournament, not to mention the 11-0 mauling Germany inflicted upon Argentina in their 2007 opener.
In one match the USA women scored more goals than the men’s team have scored in their last three World Cups combined - 2006, 2010, and 2014 - more goals in a period stretching all the way back over 13 years.
Not only is it the largest margin of victory, but also the most goals by a team in one game, and most goals in one half. Jill Ellis’ side were ‘only’ 3-0 up at half-time.
Alex Morgan opened the scoring for the USA after 12 minutes, which retrospectively looks like a long time to break the deadlock. Morgan would score a further four in the second-half, her rout complemented by six different teammate scorers. Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis each bagged a brace, making it the first time a Women’s World Cup side have had three different scorers leave with more than one goal in a single game. The seven different scorers equals the record.
Four of the goals were scored in the space of just six minutes - between the 50th and 56th - smashing the record for the four fastest goals to have been scored in a Women’s World Cup match.
In theory, the USA could exit the competition at the group stages - for what would be the first time in their history having reached at least the semi-finals on every occasion - and Morgan could still bag the Golden Boot for most goals scored in the competition.
Morgan is only the second player in the past 28 years to score five goals in a single women’s World Cup game. Her countrywoman Michelle Akers was the first person to achieve the feat, and also holds the record of 10 goals managed in a single tournament, set in the first ever event in 1991. Morgan is halfway towards breaking that, with a potential six more games to do so.
She is also now within six of Abby Wambach’s 14-goal record for the country in the competition, with eight in total. She will break into the top ten with her next strike. Brazilian Marta - participating in her own record-smashing seventh world Cup this year- remains the woman to beat with a total haul of 15 as of their first group game.
The USA have won the most World Cups in the history of the almost three-decade competition and are bidding to reach their third consecutive final. The way Ellis’ side have started proceedings they’re certainly determined to do so.