Women's World Cup 2019 preview: What to know when USA takes on Thailand

Thailand, ranked 34th in the world, will take defending champion USA in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 on Wednesday.

Though USA's Carli Lloyd has started just one of the side's 10 games in 2019, she has had a hand in eight of the team's 29 goals, which is tied for the most of any American player.   -  AFP

The U.S. women's national team will take the field Tuesday to compete in its first game of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with its first match against Thailand in Group F. 

Thailand, ranked 34th in the world by FIFA, is relatively new to the World Cup stage as it first made the tournament in 2015 after finishing fifth at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. In 2015, Thailand was the only nation to win a game without progressing to the knockout round, mainly because it gave up too many goals in losses to Germany and Norway.

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Back again in 2019, Thailand hopes to prove it's here to stay. 

Led by Nuengruethai Sathongwien, 47, the Thai national team has seen some changes in leadership over the past few years. Sathongwien became the first woman head coach in 2014, but resigned in 2016. Former Manchester City defender Spencer Prior then took over. He stepped down in 2017, allowing Sathongwien to return. 

In contrast, the Americans are one of the most experienced teams entering the tournament as they look to defend their title. The U.S. enters with more World Cup games played (43), wins (33), goals (112) and titles (three) than any other country. The U.S. is also the only nation to reach the final four in each World Cup. The USWNT has won its last six games by a combined score of 23-3, keeping five clean sheets in the process.

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The match kicks off on Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. IST at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France. 

When was the last time the two sides clashed?

The United States and Thailand have met just once before. They played in a friendly in Columbus, Ohio, on September 15, 2016, resulting in a 9-0 win for the USWNT.

Thailand's player to watch out for

Orathai Srimanee: The midfielder has been a member of Thailand's national team since 2009 and has played an integral role in her team's success on the international stage. She scored the nation's first two goals in the 2015 World Cup, ultimately setting the team up for a 3-2 win over Ivory Coast. Srimanee has become a regular starter playing in a similar role as she did four years ago.

FACTS:

  • Though Carli Lloyd has started just one of the USWNT's 10 games in 2019, she has had a hand in eight of the team's 29 goals, which is tied for the most of any American player.
  • Thailand has lost 11 of its last 12 games, giving up multiple goals in all 11 defeats.
  • Tobin Heath has scored in five of the USA’s last seven games. Lloyd (3) and Sam Mewis (3) are the only other Americans to score in more than two of those games.
  • The United States' 112 games are the most in the tournament of any country. The USA’s goal differential of +77 is also the best in the history of the World Cup.
  • If Lloyd scores two goals at the World Cup this year, she would tie for the ninth-most goals scored at the tournament with nine.
  • The USWNT has finished in the top three of every Women’s World Cup with three victories, one runner-up and three third-place finishes. There hasn't been another nation to finish in the top three more than three times. Germany has had two wins with one runner-up finish, while Sweden has finished second once and in third place twice.

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