PREVIEW: USA VS. THAILAND
MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, June 11, 2019
The US Women's National Team will start the defense of their World Cup title when they take on Thailand Tuesday night at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.
The team spent 10 days in London for their pre-World Cup camp at Tottenham Hotspur's state of the art facilities in the north of the city and traveled across the Channel to France on Friday.
This will be the American ladies' eighth World Cup, having qualified for everyone since its inception and they have yet to lose an opening game, although twice they had to settle on sharing the points with China (2007) and North Korea (1995).
The good news is that they won their last opener 3-1 against Australia and they're also coming into the tournament with a 7-1-2 record for 2019. Their only loss came at the hands of the World Cup hosts, France back in January at Le Havre. They had to settle for 2-2 ties against both England and Japan in the SheBelieves Cup in February and March.
The USA is easily expected to advance out of the group having to face not only Thailand, who is #34 in the FIFA Rankings, but also Chile (#39) and a much tougher test against Sweden (#9). This is also Thailand's second only appearance in the competition, having also qualified in 2015.
With a full and healthy squad, Jill Ellis' team is expected to come out of the starting blocks on fire against the Thais, who have been victorious in just one of their seven games this year (against #45 Hungary).
Ellis will most likely go with her usual 4-3-3 line-up. Expected to start will be Naeher, Dunn, Sauerbrunn, Dahlkemper, O'Hara, Horan, Ertz, Lavelle, Rapinoe, Morgan and Heath.