The United States Women’s National team have repeated as World Cup champions after beating the Netherlands 2-0 in Sunday’s final to lift the trophy for the second time in a row.
Throughout this World Cup, the U.S. women had a lead going into halftime of every match they had played. They had never been held scoreless in the first half. It took an hour of game time before Megan Rapinoe broke the scoreless tie for the U.S. on a penalty kick.
The No. 1 ranked United States Women’s National team and the Netherlands national team – ranked No. 8 – have completed their first half. Team USA is aiming to repeat as reigning champions. The Dutch are trying to pull off a huge upset.
This is only the second time the Netherlands team has appeared in the Women’s World Cup. In 2015, they were knocked out in the Round of 16 by Japan – which was, in turn, beaten by the U.S. in the 2015 final.
USA – Netherlands fast facts
This is the USWNT’s fourth World Cup title: 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019
Megan Rapinoe is the oldest woman to score in a Women’s World Cup final.
Along with Germany’s Birgit Prinz (1995, 2003, 2007) , is also only the second-ever player to start in three separate World Cup tournaments (2011, 2015, 2019).
“It’s surreal,” said United States forward Megan Rapinoe, who was named the tournament’s outstanding player after scoring six goals. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”
Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored second-half goals for the United States, who needed more than an hour to solve a tenacious defensive effort by the Netherlands. Rapinoe broke the dam with a penalty kick in the 61st minute, and Lavelle sealed the victory with a driving run up the center in the 69th.
It was the second straight World Cup title for a dozen of the American players, who claimed their first championship in Canada four years ago. It also cemented their status as the gold standard in women’s soccer, even as Europe — led by teams like the Netherlands — mounts a sustained assault on their crown.
The tears flowed freely after the win: from striker Alex Morgan, who tied for the tournament lead with six goals; from Kelley O’Hara, who was forced from the game at halftime after a scary head-to-head collision; and from the Dutch, who fought the Americans harder, and kept even with them longer, than any team at this World Cup.
The Netherlands was the only team to hold the United States off the scoreboard in the first half in France but they, like all the other teams before them — Thailand, Chile, Sweden, Spain, France and England — could not hold them off forever.
Rapinoe’s goal came after Morgan was kicked in the shoulder by Netherlands defender Stefanie van der Gragt in the penalty area, a rare loss of composure by the Dutch team. Rapinoe, Coach Jill Ellis’s preferred penalty taker, calmly stepped up and buried her attempt past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who leaned to her right but barely moved as the ball rippled the net.
Van Veenedaal, who almost singlehandedly kept the game scoreless in the first half with several diving, sprawling saves, was named the tournament’s outstanding goalkeeper. Rapinoe won the Golden Boot as the top scorer as well as the Golden Ball as the tournament’s outstanding player.