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United States' Megan Rapinoe scores her side's second goal from a penalty spot during the Women's World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and US at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Monday, June 24, 2019.
Alessandra Tarantino / AP Photo

The Women’s World Cup is underway in France, as national teams pit it out for women’s soccer’s top prize.

This hour, we take a look at how the U.S. Women’s National Team has come to reign as an international powerhouse. And we talk about the battle women’s sports teams across the board have fought to gain recognition -- and pay.

The United States Women's National Team continued to show why it's the best team in the world with another stellar performance in the Women's World Cup. The U.S. defeated Chile 3-0 before a sell-out crowd in Paris.

Updated at 6: 24 p.m. ET

The U.S. Women's National Team won its first game of the World Cup with the largest margin of victory in FIFA history Tuesday in a wild soccer match against Thailand.

The record-setting night ended at 13-0. No World Cup team, men or women, had ever scored 13 goals before. Alex Morgan scored five. She now ties with Michelle Akers' previous 1991 World Cup record for goals scored in a single game.

She added that she is "speechless" over her own performance. "The ball just happened to bounce my way," she said.

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off today in Paris. Twenty-four teams will vie for their chance at glory.

Here's what you need to know to follow all the action.

When does the Women's World Cup start?

The tournament begins at the Parc des Princes in Paris, where a strong team from host nation France takes on South Korea in the opening match. The schedule ramps up Saturday with three games: Germany vs. China, Spain vs. South Africa and Norway vs. Nigeria.

Len Williams, a Hartford Athletic supporter, celebrates after the final whistle on Saturday May 4 when Athletic earned its first point of the season in a 1-1 tie vs. Charlotte in East Hartford.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Hartford’s new pro soccer team made its debut in front of a home crowd Saturday, May 4.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The time has finally come for Connecticut’s newest pro soccer team to debut in the Hartford area.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s new pro soccer team is in the middle of filling out its inaugural roster in advance of the team’s first preseason game.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at Hartford’s Dillon Stadium Monday.

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

France is the champion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, besting Croatia by 4 goals to 2.

France entered the tournament as a favorite, powered by stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, while Croatia was seen as a longshot for victory.

"We are world champions and France are going to be on top of the world for next four years," French coach Didier Deschamps said after the game. He called the tournament a "beautiful celebration of football."

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The new United Soccer League team that will play home games in a re-constructed Dillon Stadium will be called Hartford Athletic.

Believe it or not, Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt (and their kitchen knife) entered the public consciousness 25 years ago last week.

And this week, former UConn athlete Sue Bird and her girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe, became the first same-sex couple to appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's The Body Issue.

nplove / Flickr

From the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. to the 2018 World Cup currently underway, referees have always played an integral part in competitive sports. But as technology advances and the means to make more accurate on-field calls improves, these men and women find themselves under increasing pressure to keep up.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The World Cup begins Thursday. But the United States men’s national soccer team didn’t even qualify, so fans will have to wait another four years to see their team play for international glory.

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

Rendering of Hartford Sports Group's proposed renovations to Dillon Stadium.
Hartford Sports Group

Hartford City Council approved a state-bonded $10 million renovation of the historic Dillon Stadium Monday night.

Gov. Dannel Malloy characterized the stadium as being in a "great state of disrepair" during Friday's State Bonding Commission hearing in Hartford and presented two options prior to the vote -- pay to rebuild it or pay to take it down.
Frankie Graziano / WNPR

On Friday, the State Bonding Commission approved $10 million in funding to redevelop Dillon Stadium -- an 80-year-old facility located in Hartford’s Colt Park.

Carlos Cordeiro is the new president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, succeeding his boss, Sunil Gulati, in a final vote over the weekend that concluded a contentious race.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The Hartford Sports Group is the preliminary pick to revamp Dillon Stadium, an 80 year-old facility in Hartford’s Colt Park.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The three bidders vying to win the Dillon Stadium project spoke at a hearing Wednesday night at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Members of the public got a chance to speak as well.

Global Jet / Flickr

The long-awaited renovation of Dillon Stadium may happen soon. Three bidders have submitted proposals to the city of Hartford and the Capital Region Development Authority for a shot at revamping the 80-year-old facility located in Colt Park. 

A win or a tie would have done it. Or even one loss or tie by the underdogs in Tuesday night's other two qualifying games.

Or beating Honduras a month ago, or beating Panama in March, or not losing both games to Costa Rica.

A 2-1 loss Tuesday night to Trinidad and Tobago — the only team below the U.S. soccer team in the standings — and wins by Honduras and Panama over the qualifying tourney's best two teams mean the Americans will miss the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They'd played in seven World Cups in a row dating back to 1990.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Out of 96 teams in the National Premier Soccer League, New Haven’s Elm City Express is the last one standing. The Express beat Midland-Odessa of Texas 5-0 Saturday night at Yale’s Reese Stadium to become national champion in its inaugural season.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

New Haven’s professional soccer team, the Elm City Express, has made it to its league’s championship game in its inaugural year, after beating a team from Oakland on Saturday.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Hartford City FC finished its inaugural National Premier Soccer League season last month having won six games, including a playoff victory. 

U.S. Embassy Guatemala / Creative Commons

Tony DiCicco died Monday at the age of 68. The Wethersfield native coached the United States Women’s Soccer Team in the 1999 World Cup.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Ed Mulrenan is a season-ticket holder for the Elm City Express, and he was the first person to show up for the inaugural game between Connecticut’s newest pro soccer teams.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Hami Kara is a goalkeeper who bounced around the soccer world after being an all-New Englander at Wethersfield High School. He played at the University of Pittsburgh, continued his career in Turkey, and even landed on a Major League Soccer roster back in 2013.

Arturo Pardavila III / flickr creative commons

On May 2, 2016, with a 2-2 draw between Tottenham and Chelsea, Leicester City clinched the league title for the first time in their 132-year history. The BBC called it "one of the greatest sporting stories of all time." Leicester were 5,000-to-1 underdogs before the Premier League season started.

The idea for an expansion soccer team in New Haven started two years ago over coffee in Brazil.

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