Sweden and USA stroll into next round with comfortable victories
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Sweden produced a breathtaking display of attacking football to thrash Thailand 5-1 on Sunday and book their place in the last 16 of the women's World Cup, while the US entered the next stage with similar aplomb, dispatching Chile 3-0.
Thailand, coming off a record 13-0 loss to defending champions United States in their Group F opener, conceded twice in the opening 20 minutes as they struggled to win aerial battles against a much taller Swedish team.
Centre back Linda Sembrant broke the deadlock for Sweden with a thumping header off an Elin Rubensson free kick, before midfielder Kosovare Asllani pounced on a rebound to double their lead.
Fridolina Rolfo hammered in a third from outside the box as Sweden finished with three goals in the first half of a World Cup match for the first time since a third-place playoff win over Germany in 1991.
Forward Lina Hurtig and Rubensson scored in the second half to add gloss to the scoreline, while forward Kanjana Sung-ngoen pulled one back for Thailand in the closing stages.
It was a much improved display from Sweden, who peppered the Thailand goal with 34 attempts, after they laboured to a 2-0 victory over Chile in their opening match.
US vanquish Chile 3-0
Later on Sunday, Striker Carli Lloyd scored twice as the United States beat Chile 3-0, sending them through to the last 16.
Lloyd, one of the biggest names in the women's game, became the first player to score in six consecutive World Cup matches but missed out on a hat-trick when she put a late penalty wide.
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Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler won plaudits after pulling off several stunning saves to keep the score down.
The United States, who moved to the top of group F on goal difference with six points, joined Sweden in the knockout phase after they had earlier beaten Thailand 5-1 in the same group.
The US, coming off a record 13-0 win over Thailand in their Group F opener, were in control from the first minute and scored three first-half goals.
Lloyd put her team ahead in the 11th minute by smashing a half-volley into the net from just inside the box.
It followed an early onslaught that had already seen the US miss several clear-cut chances, including Lloyd hitting the post from close range with Paris St Germain's Endler reacting quickest to deny the veteran US striker from the rebound.
US midfielder Julie Ertz doubled the score on 26 minutes, flicking in a header from a corner and Lloyd, captain for the day, then powered home from another corner nine minutes later after easily losing her marker.
That took the 36-year-old Lloyd's tally in the tournament to three and 10 overall in World Cups.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)