Two games were played at the Parc des Princes on Sunday evening.
One of them saw a dominant team take the sensible decision to rest a swathe of starting players in a theoretically easier game, giving rotation players a chance to shine and – in USWNT coach Jill Ellis' words – 'get hot'.
They ran the game from start to finish, had killed the game off when they went into the half-time break up 3-0, and cruised from there. They could've scored more, but for a few fantastic saves from the goalkeeper and one curling shot finding woodwork rather than net.
The most goals any team scored in the 2015 group stage was 15. The US have equalled that with 154 our of 270 minutes left to play #FIFAWWC— Chris Deeley FORGOTTEN NATIONS OUT NOW (@ThatChris1209) June 16, 2019
The other game saw a presumptive favourite for a World Cup throw away the momentum they'd gained in a record-breaking opening match by completely changing their lineup. They decided not to take the chance to let their best XI – or something close to it – settle into tournament mode before a tough game against Sweden on Thursday.
They gave World Cup debuts to players like they were going out of style. They denied their front line the chance to keep up their hot streak from five days previous. They treated the match like it was won before they started.
It's obvious that both of these games are the USA's 3-0 win over Chile, right? Good.
Narrative is a tricksy thing, always better retrofitted once you know the whole story. The fact is, both of the above narratives could be entirely true. They can exist simultaneously. This is a results-driven business, and our analysis of the game often reflects that.
If the likes of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe come into the Sweden game fresh and firing from their extra bit of rest, Ellis did the right thing and will be praised. If it takes a little while for things to coalesce on Thursday and Sweden get the jump, the decisions made in Paris will be viewed in an entirely different light.
Fast forward five days, and Ellis changed all but three of her outfield starters for Sunday evening's second group game against Chile. Misdirection? A low opinion of the South American side? Wanting to, in her words, "
Speaking directly after the game, Ellis justified her decision in terms of momentum, saying: "You can talk about the football on the pitch, but how a team feels is important too and that's what I think today was about.
"The players who didn't play today understood, and were excited for the players who were on the pitch. In terms of building momentum, now every single one of them's got the butterflies out of the way and is ready to take it on – and they know the trust is there."