Saturday, December 5, 2020

USA dominate Chile in Paris

The USA beat Chile by three goals to nil in what was a dominant performance in Paris. Carli Lloyd scored twice and missed a great chance for a third from the spot following a controversial penalty decision.

The pattern of this match was evident from the outset as USA hit Chile with wave after wave of attack. Carli Lloyd started in place of Alex Morgan in this one and she took just 12 minutes to make that a worthwhile decision as she opened the scoring in fine style.

A long ball was lumped into the box from deep, the defender headed it clear but only as far as Lloyd who was waiting on the edge of the box to hammer it home. She found the far corner and left goalkeeper Christiane Endler rooted to the spot.

In her defence, this was the only time in the game Endler could even slightly be criticised. She pulled off world class save after world class save throughout the game and had it not been for her, the score would have been a lot worse.

Both of the other two goals came from corners as the Yanks made their height and physicality advantage count. The second goal happened on 25 minutes when Julie Ertz out-jumped everybody in the box and sent a bullet header into the near post. Endler got a touch to the ball but she just couldn’t deal with the sheer power on the effort.

Chile no match for USA

WWC Favourites USA

It didn’t take long for that height advantage to come good again as nine minutes later, Carli Lloyd bagged her second of the game. Another great delivery form the corner flag and this time, Lloyd ran from deep to meet the ball and headed it down and into the far corner. That made it 3-0 and all but secured the USA’s progression into the knockout stages.

The second half didn’t bring us any goals, but brought us plenty of great footballing action. As mentioned earlier, the star of the second period was Christiane Endler. She pulled off a few fantastic saves to deny the likes of Christen Press, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh.

We also had some late drama as Lloyd was given the chance to complete her hat-trick from the spot. The penalty was given following a VAR review of an incident from a US free-kick that was lumped long into the box. Replays showed Yessenia Huenteo hauled down one of the US players on the edge of the box. It looked as though the contact both started and ended on the edge of the box, but the referee gave the penalty anyway.

Lloyd stepped up to take it but dragged her penalty wide of the left hand post. Very uncharacteristic miss from the veteran striker.

This result means that both the USA and Sweden are through to the knockout stages. Chile can still qualify as one of the four best third place teams, to do that though, they’ll need to beat Thailand in mid-week.

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