The United States women's soccer team is in great position for a berth in the quarterfinal round of the Women's World Cup with a 5-0 victory over Nigeria Thursday.
Mia Hamm was unstoppable for the second straight World Cup game, scoring two early goals, then setting one up in the second half as the United States routed Nigeria 5-0 Thursday night.
Hamm treated a crowd of more than 31,500 to another masterful performance. After assisting on all three goals in a 3-1 victory over Sweden on Sunday, soccer's career scoring leader with 144 goals took early control against Nigeria.
Hamm converted a penalty kick in the sixth minute with a shot low to the right corner. In the 12th minute, she sent a 35-meter free kick on a floating arc that settled into the upper back of the net.
Nigeria had a goal disallowed on a very close offsides call. Otherwise, U.S. women controlled the pace and possession for most of the game. While her two goals set the pace, Hamm says the early score in the second half by Cindy Parlow helped to seal the win.
"To get that goal early on in the second half I think really helped us with regards to settling down and trying to possess it [the ball]," said Mia Hamm. "Because for us, that was the only way we felt that we could break Nigeria's spirit was to make them run a bit."
Abby Wambach scored her first World Cup goal in the 65th minute while U.S. captain Julie Foudy connected on a penalty kick in the 89th.
The Americans took the lead in Group A with six points, but have not yet clinched a quarterfinal spot. They play North Korea on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, needing only a tie to advance.
In the first game of the day, Sweden used an early goal by Victoria Svensson to beat North Korea, 1-0. Both teams now have one win and one loss in Group A. Deep in the penalty area, Svensson volleyed home a shot with her right foot in the seventh minute.
The Swedes then withstood a late surge by the Asian champions. Ri Kum Suk missed a header wide with an open chance at the goal. The Swedish defense then blocked several North Korean attempts.