USA 2, Netherland 0
USA will retain their title as World Cup champs after a thrilling 2-0 victory on Sunday over the Netherlands from Lyon, France. It was a closer match than many had expected with a scoreless tie going into halftime. USA had 4 shots on goal, including two great chances from Alex Morgan, in the first half but were stopped.
In the 61st minute, Cal alum Alex Morgan drew contact inside the box to earn USA another penalty try. USA head coach chose Megan Rapinoe as the penalty taker again and she promptly put the USA women ahead 1-0. Rose Lavelle added a 2nd goal in the 69th minute for the final margin.
With her 6th goal (3rd via penalty), Megan Rapinoe edged teammate Alex Morgan for the Golden Boot. Morgan, who does not get credit for drawing 2 of those key penalties and was tied with Rapinoe with 6 goals in this tournament, earned the Silver Boot. Rapinoe also earned the Golden Ball as the top player of this tournament.
After matching the feat of Germany as the 2nd country to win back-to-back Women’s World Cup, the next challenge for the USWNT is to become the 1st country to win the Olympic Gold after the Women’s World Cup. A pretty similar looking squad should be heading to Tokyo next summer to chase that bit of
See you Wed in NYC at 9:30 AM for the Ticker Tape Parade down the Canyon of Heroes https://t.co/uC7IovWXNV— Kelly Whiteside (@KellyWhiteside) July 7, 2019
Before that, expect to see plenty of USWNT around the country both in parades and a victory tour playing a bunch of friendlies, where hopefully Alex Morgan can get back to her a goal per match scoring rate to chase down Mia Hamm and eventually Abby Wambach on the career international goal scoring list.
90+ more minutes for Alex Morgan and USWNT to permanently add a 4th star on their USA kits. While the Netherlands are the defending European champs, plenty of people have already given this 2019 Women’s World Cup to the USA squad. Will we have a repeat of that Spain game again or will the USA women display their dominance instead?
Those are the storylines for today’s finale of another exciting FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament. What we do know for sure is that there exists worldwide appetite for women’s soccer at the highest level and there will be some massive (already planned) expansion of the NWSL in the United States for next season. ESPN will also pick up the TV rights to the remainder of this NWSL season for the rest of the summer and fall.
Beyond the major trophy, the Golden Boot race is still yet to be decided. England’s Ellen White may have thought that she pulled ahead with her 7th goal of the tournament on Saturday’s 3rd place match, but VAR took that goal away (White was ruled to have used her upper arm to control the ball on a handball just prior to the goal). England eventually lost 2-1 to Sweden.
So Cal women’s soccer alum Alex Morgan will have all the opportunities to win this Golden Boot outright as she has the extra match to pull ahead of White to score a 7th goal. Morgan will face possibly some challenge from teammate Megan Rapinoe who is just behind Morgan and White with 5 goals. Rapinoe missed the semifinal match but should be healthy for this one.
Conventional wisdom is that this match is USWNT’s to lose and we should not need to have the drama of the 1999 (or 2011) final of having this tournament being decided via a penalty shootout. Then again, the game of soccer is itself a great equalizer.
In her 3rd consecutive Women’s World Cup final, leading the USA squad to another World Cup title will be a major accomplishment in Alex Morgan’s USWNT legacy as one of the best ever. Morgan scored a seemingly tournament winner after coming on as a sub back in 2011 but USWNT ultimately fell to Japan in penalties. In 2015, Carli Lloyd stole the show in the final with a hat trick. What will Alex Morgan do today, particularly as the goal celebration move?
By the way, USA men’s national team will also be playing for a much less important championship today. USMNT will take on the favored Mexico in the Gold Cup final. Cal men’s soccer alum Nick Lima is on that squad but was benched in the semifinal match after starting as the right back for the bulk of the tournament and the matches leading up to this tournament in the latest USMNT regime.
2019 Women’s World Cup Final: USA vs. Netherland
Where: Parc Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon, France)
When: 8 am PT
GO ALEX! GO USA! GO BEARS!