The US were victorious against the Netherlands during this afternoon’s Women’s World Cup final - here’s the full match report.
The 2019 Women’s World Cup champions are the triumphant United States Women’s National Team (USWNT). They defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in a final that was at times full of end to end action full of skill and moments of personal glory.
In the end, the Americans retained their title, asserting their dominance in the sport.
The game was already supercharged long before kick-off. The USWNT and especially captain Megan Rapinoe had been making headlines throughout the tournament. From her comments on the current US President to using the pre-match press conference to call out Fifa on the pay gap between the men’s and women’s tournament.
This tournament hasn’t just been about the football. We all hope for the day when it is just about the football, but as Rapinoe said it isn’t fair that this final has been scheduled on the same day as the two other major games. She’s right to question if this would happen to the men’s game.
She held back no punches when she said, “double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time” when commenting on the disparity in prize money between the men’s and women’s world cup.
Here’s what happened
The game was the USWNT’s to lose; they’d been on fire all tournament. As reigning champions, they have the winning experience behind them, but they were not alone – the Dutch are the current European champions.
The golden boot was also up for grabs. Going into the game Rapinoe was on five goals and teammate Alex Morgan had six.
As always, the US started aggressively. It’s what they have done throughout this tournament, scoring before the 12th minute in each game. The final was no different and if there were any nerves, they didn’t show with both their full backs attacking from the onset.
The referee first went to the book in the 10th minute when Rose Lavelle outsmarts Sherida Spitse and she is taken down in a late tackle. The referee didn’t think too much about it and went straight for the yellow card.
At this point the tempo of the game was high, and it remained that way. The Netherlands managed to do what no other team had done in the tournament – they got through the first 12 minutes without conceding to the USWNT. Even more so, they were already doing much better than their Japanese counterparts did in the finals against the US team four years ago. After 16 minutes, the Americans were leading 4-0.
The Dutch weren’t letting the Americans have it all their own way. Both sides were getting chances but somehow, no one was finding the back of the net. It took almost half an hour for the first shot on target – that was from an American corner that Julie Ertz nearly put away only for the Dutch captain and goalkeeper, Sari van Veenendaal to react quickly to clear it.
After this, the American’s picked up their game. Within minutes they almost scored. Firstly, van Veenendaal was working overtime when she blocked an Ertz volley and a follow up from Morgan. Moments later Morgan blasted a shot from outside the box, only to be saved again by Veenendaal.
She was keeping her team in the game. England and Lyon midfielder, Izzy Christensen got the nail on the head when she said, “it’s like it’s the 85th minute and it’s 0-0 and the Dutch are hanging on for dear life”.
But they held on and half time came with it still goalless – the Dutch had some ‘almost’ chances but didn’t manage a shot at all until injury time in the half.
The USWNT started the second half the way they did the first – with pace and immediate attacks. Morgan started off by making a run down the left which got her a corner. The Americans were intent on winning.
Just before the hour mark, Morgan is potentially brought down in the box by the boot of Stefanie van der Gragt. VAR used to have a look at it, and the referee points to the spot.
Rapinoe took the kick and carefully placed it in the bottom right corner. The US finally has the lead. What’s more is that this goal put Rapinoe in the golden boot position – she had the same number of goals and assists as Morgan, but she had fewer minutes of gameplay between the goals.
Within ten minutes, the Americans get their second when Rose Lavelle, who has been so prominent throughout the tournament stormed through the middle of the pitch and her shot is placed in the bottom right corner.
From then, the Americans looked dominant. They were making runs, going for goal and being a little greedier with the ball than they should have been – they had confidence that we hadn’t seen all match. They were playing like world cup champions.
Upon the final whistle, the US squad ran onto the pitch and none looked happier than Megan Rapinoe. The team had achieved what is the pinnacle of the game. The only question now is whether they’ll go home and visit the White House. But that’s for another day. Today is about the achievement, skill and determination of all the women of the USWNT.