The USWNT Still Hold the Record For Highest-Scoring World Cup Game

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup didn't get off to the start that the US women's national team were hoping for, but they still hold the record for the highest-scoring game in World Cup history.

The record for the highest-scoring World Cup game in history was set at the 2019 Women's World Cup when the USWNT faced off against Thailand in the first game of the round-robin stage. The Americans won by an astonishing 13-0 margin, setting records for the most goals scored in a World Cup match ever by a single team and by both teams combined, in either the men's or women's tournament.

That same 13-0 victory for the USWNT set a few other records. For one, it became the highest-scoring game in the history of the USWNT (the previous USWNT record was set in 1991, when the US beat Chinese Taipei 7-0 in the inaugural Women's World Cup). Additionally, with five goals to her name, USWNT superstar Alex Morgan tied the record (previously set by soccer legend Michelle Akers) for the most goals scored by an individual player in a single World Cup game. Only one man has joined that elite club along with Akers and Morgan: Oleg Salenko, a Russian player who scored five goals in a match against Cameroon in the 1994 tournament.

Prior to this 2019 match, the record for the highest-scoring Women's World Cup game was an 11-0 German victory over Argentina in the 2007 tournament. The highest-scoring game of all time was previously set all the way back in 1954, when the Austrian men's team beat their Swiss rivals 7-5 for a total of 12 goals scored. Those games now rank as the third- and second-highest-scoring World Cup matches of all time, respectively. Alongside the 2007 Germany-Argentina game, there have also been three men's World Cup matches that have hit the 11-goal mark:

  • 1938: Brazil 6, Poland 5
  • 1954: Hungary 8, West Germany 3
  • 1982: Hungary 10, El Salvador 1

While it can be fun (at least for fans of the winning team) to watch a high-scoring game with a huge scoring gap, closer games can actually be seen as a good thing for the sport as a whole. A huge goal differential can be an indicator of a large gap in skills and training, as it was with the lopsided matchup in 2019 between the US and Thailand. Smaller gaps and lower scores, on the other hand, indicate more even matchups, which in turn means that more teams are rising to the elite level. For girls and women around the world hoping to make their soccer dreams come true — and for the fans who love to support them — more competition and higher levels of play can only mean more incredible games to come.