U.S Women Win Fourth Overall World Cup, Second In A Row
The U.S. Women's National Team won their second consecutive World Cup, their fourth overall, in a 2-0 win over The Netherlands.
The U.S. Women’s National National Team defeated The Netherlands earlier today to win it’s second World Cup and its fourth overall, the most wins of any team since the Women’s World Cup was established in 1991, and capping off a tournament in which the U.S. team was absolutely dominant:
The United States women’s soccer team claimed its fourth Women’s World Cup title on Sunday, beating the Netherlands, 2-0, in Lyon, France, to repeat as world champions.
Megan 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’s surreal,” said Rapinoe, who was named the tournament’s outstanding player after scoring six goals. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”
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 defender 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.
“They put their heart and soul into this journey, and I can’t thank them enough,” Coach Jill Ellis said. Ellis became the first manager to win consecutive Women’s World Cup titles; her team has not lost a game in the event since 2011.
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.
It was appropriate, somehow, that the goal was set up after a short break for a video-assistant review, the replay system that was a source of consternation throughout the tournament. The referee, Stephanie Frappart of France, had missed the initial foul that created the penalty; alerted by a review official, she took a second look on a sideline television and promptly whistled a foul, and a penalty kick.
Stymied for an hour, the Americans — who had been among those who had press for the use of the system — cared little that it worked to their benefit Sunday.
When Lavelle’s charge up the middle provided an insurance goal minutes later, there was a sense — even with 20 minutes to play — that the title was secure.
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.
The trophy was raised by Carli Lloyd, the 36-year-old who starred in the 2015 triumph but was reduced to a bit player long before she entered Sunday’s final as a late substitute — the latest example of a seemingly endless stream of great American players who have driven the program forward for a generation.
The Americans won the first World Cup in 1991, then took the third in 1999. For decades, they have been leaders in the fight to grow the women’s game, and to ensure more resources — and more money — flow to the players to compete in it. The current team sued its own federation for gender discrimination earlier this year but never blinked in its quest to win another world title only a few months later.
I am admittedly not much of a soccer fan, but I have loosely followed the women’s team as they made their way through this year’s World Cup tournament and they’ve been as dominant as the press clippings have suggested. While The Netherlands was the first team that was able to prevent the U.S. from scoring during the first half in entire tournament, it’s worth noting that the American team was either tied or held the lead for every moment of every game they played in the tournament from the 13-0 domination of Thailand to today’s 2-0 win in the final. This is a sign of a dominant team that likely only would have lost if it made mistakes on its own part. In that regard, there were very few mistakes on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball today for the Dutch team, which has dominated the women’s game in Europe for the past year or more. That domination, though, wasn’t good enough to make it past the Americans.
As noted, this win constitutes the second win by the women’s team in a row and the fourth overall since the Women’s World Cup was established. The other wins came in 1991, 1999, and 2015. In the other four Women’s World Cup Tournaments, the United States team has come in either second place, as it did in 2011 or in third place as it did in 1995, 2003, and 2007. Again this is a measure of just how dominant the United States has become on the women’s side of the game, something that CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan credits to Title IX and the investment that the United States has made in women’s sports generally in the years since it was passed in an interview with Jake Tapper that aired prior to the game:
The team has already been invited by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to come to New York City for a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes, something they also received in 2015 when they won their third title. Unlike previous years, though, it’s unlikely that we’ll see them at the White House. Even before the final, several team members, including Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner Megan Rapinoe, said that they would not accept an invitation from this President, something that is becoming rather common among Championship teams in the Trump Era.
In any case, Congratulations ladies! See you again in 2023!