The United States couldn't have got off to a better start when their 2019 Women's World Cup campaign began against Thailand in Reims on Tuesday night.
The holders and number one ranked team in the world were the very last of the first round of group matches and had already seen all of their potential rivals for the trophy in action.
France wowed a partisan home crowd and the wider world with a comprehensive 4-0 win over South Korea in the opening game last Friday. Germany laboured in a 1-0 victory against China, Australia dropped the ball by losing to Italy, England gave a decidedly mixed performance to beat Scotland, Canada kept another clean sheet, and Netherlands left it very late.
By the time they got their turn, the Americans were chomping at the bit.
By now, we all know what happened. It took just six minutes for the ball to land in Thailand's net, and just a few more for the first goal to actually count after an offside flag ruled out the first.
It was only 3-0 at half-time, but four goals in the space of just six minutes soon afterwards completely broke Thailand. More goals came in another flurry towards the end and players were effectively queuing up to help get veteran superstar Carli Lloyd on the score-sheet.
The 13-0 win was a World Cup record, surpassing Germany's 11-0 victory over Argentina from 2007, while Alex Morgan's five goal-haul tied a competition record set by USWNT legend Michelle Akers in 1991. On top of that, midfield trio Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis all announced themselves on the global stage in their first ever World Cup appearance.
The world is gushing over the American team, but let's not allow ourselves to get too carried away too quickly in the context of the rest of the World Cup because there are still other things that need discussing.
I myself put forward an argument earlier this month that Morgan, despite winning an Olympic gold medal in 2012, the World Cup in 2015 and generally being the most famous female star on the planet, still has something to prove at the very highest level. It wasn't to say she is overrated or doesn't deserve to be considered among the world's elite players, but an observation that for the reasons explained she has never quite 'done it' at a World Cup in two previous attempts.
Prior to the Thailand game, I also alluded to potential USWNT weaknesses that could be exposed, probably not by the Thai team. They have had defensive issues, they haven't travelled away from home very much in the last couple of years and when they have results haven't been as strong, while former star goalkeeper Hope Solo criticised coach Jill Ellis, over a perceived lack of leadership and an apparent unwillingness to show players game tape of mistakes.
Even after witnessing the ruthless demolition of Thailand, I stand by both, for now.
I’ll stand by my reservations on #USA just for now despite tonight’s heavy score line. This was never going to be the test for them. It will be #SWE in game 3 and beyond in the knockouts that we’ll get our true answers about them #FIFAWWC https://t.co/1Vd9eAHrix— Jamie Spencer (@jamiespencer155) June 11, 2019
Facing Thailand, a 500/1 outsider ranked 34th in the world, who did well just to qualify for only a second World Cup, and had lost 11 of their 12 most recent games going into the tournament, is not a test that tells us how the United States will fare in the rest of the World Cup.
That test also won't come in their next game against Chile, a team ranked five place lower than even the Thais by FIFA and only kept in their opening game against Sweden by the heroics of world class goalkeeper Christiane Endler. The Chilean stopper will be in for another busy day.
We will get our truer answers about the USWNT at this World Cup later on, when they face old nemesis Sweden in the final Group F fixture, and beyond that in the knockout rounds.
Weaknesses were exposed in consecutive 2-2 draws against Japan and England at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, as well as a 3-1 demolition at the hands of France in January. France (twice) and England are the only sides to beat the Americans since 2016 and they may have to face both, followed by Germany, to lift the World Cup again this year.
Assuming France and the United States both top their groups and each navigate a last 16 tie, as they would be expected to do, there will be a truly mouth watering quarter final meeting in Paris on June 28. That is the real test for Morgan, Lavelle, Horan, Mewis and co.
Buoyed further by the confidence of an record breaking opening win, there is a real possibility that the United States have worked on and improved their weaknesses and that Tuesday night was the first evidence they actually will take this tournament by storm and go all the way.
But, as onlookers, let's calm down and not hand over the trophy just yet.