The USWNT are World Cup Champions for the second straight time, defeating the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday in Paris France. They are the first team to go back to back since Germany in 2003 and 2007, and now have four World Cup Championships to their record, double the amount of any other country.
Both Megan Rapinoe (captain) and Rose Lavelle were fit to play Sunday after Rapinoe missed the game vs England with a hamstring injury and Lavelle exited that game with an apparent muscle injury of her own. That would prove to be immense for the USWNT. Additionally Lieke Martens started the game for the Duch, after being subbed off at halftime of the semi final, and nursing injuries throughout the tournament. The first half ended in a stalemate despite both teams threatening each others goals. The USA had the more dangerous of the opportunities, but were negated by Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal. The Netherlands were 6-0 in this tournament when being tied at halftime.
As the second half got underway, neither team jumped out to seize the momentum, with the game still tightly contested. In the 61st minute however, the USA were awarded a penalty decision thanks to VAR after Alex Morgan was taken down in the box. Rapinoe stepped up to take the penalty, and fooled van Veenendaal slotting home the opening goal to her left. The Dutch were forced to come out of their shell and attack to try and even the game, which opened things up for the USA. Rose Lavelle picked up a ball in the midfield and cruised past several defenders before rocketing one into the back of the net with her left foot in the 69th minute to give the USA a 2-0 lead.
Unlike prior games where the USA backed into a more defensive formation with late leads, they continued to press and attack the Dutch. The Dutch never threatened the U.S. goal with any significance and it was the U.S. who actually squandered a few chances to build the lead. As the final whistle blew, jubilation ensued for the ladies in red white and blue, and the crowd chanted “Equal Pay” which has been a topic of much debate over the last few years for the USWNT.
Rapinoe was named the tournament’s most valuable player as well as winning the tournaments golden boot with 6th goals (tied with Alex Morgan but won on tie breaker of less minutes played). Van Veenendaal was named the most valuable goalkeeper of the tournament for the Dutch. While team USA didn’t play the “prettiest” soccer of the tournament, their confidence, at times arrogance, and will to win were unmatched, and propelled them to their 4th World Cup Title. A parade will be held in New York City to celebrate the nation’s victory.
Drop a comment regarding the final, and the Women’s World Cup as a whole in the comment section below.