World champs US set sights on Matildas

USA's world champs have Australia in their sights after hammering New Zealand 6-1.
USA's world champs have Australia in their sights after hammering New Zealand 6-1.

After a stunning loss in their opening match, the mighty US women's soccer team vowed to be ruthless against New Zealand and were true to their word with a crushing 6-1 rout of the Kiwis in front of First Lady Jill Biden.

Now the Americans, defeated by Sweden in their opener, are primed to show their best against Sam Kerr's Matildas, who were also beaten 4-2 by the Swedes on Saturday, in a huge qualifying decider on Tuesday.

With the United States leading 2-0 at the break, Biden arrived in time to watch the team put the game away in the second half at Saitama Stadium.

The United States' 3-0 defeat by Sweden had been the team's first loss since January 2019 and snapped a 44-game unbeaten streak.

Yet they vowed to regain control of the tournament, with defender Kelley O'Hara saying the United States needed to be "ruthless" against New Zealand.

"I think we came into game two knowing that we don't go from being a really great team two days ago to not being a great team anymore," said defender Crystal Dunn.

Rose Lavelle scored off a well-placed pass from Tobin Heath in the ninth minute, with Lindsey Horan scoring a header on her 100th appearance in the final moments of the half to put the US 2-0 up at the break.

An own-goal by Abby Erceg extended the US lead in the 64th minute, though New Zealand avoided the shut-out with Betsy Hassett's goal in the 72nd.

Christen Press, who came in as a second-half substitute, scored with 10 minutes left before Alex Morgan scored in the final minutes before a late New Zealand own goal.

Australian Associated Press