LE HAVRE, France — The search for a team to challenge the US continues.
In their most difficult test thus far, the defending champions came through unscathed, securing a comfortable 2-0 victory against Sweden to make it three wins for three in France with no goals conceded.
For athleticism, for speed, for attacking prowess the US are without equal at this Women’s World Cup. Indeed, no team has ever scored more in the group stages than the 18 goals netted by the US in its opening three games.
Sterner tests will come, but probably not until the quarterfinals when France, if the last-16 ties go as the bookies’ predict, will likely be the opponent for what would be a mouthwatering contest in Paris.
From the moment Lindsey Horan struck in the third minute in Le Havre for the quickest goal of the tournament the result was never in doubt. That only Tobin Heath added to the scoreline will probably be an irritation for a team from which much is expected.
The US wasn’t without weakness, there were occasions when the defense erred — Kosovare Asllani glided through on goal far too easily in the first half — but Jill Ellis’ biggest worry is likely to be Alex Morgan’s half-time departure following a heavy first-half challenge.