Postgame: USA outlasted the Netherlands amid France’s scorching summer heat on second-half goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
Perhaps it’s fitting those players overcame hamstring problems to make the decisive contributions in this final. Such is the advantage USA’s world-class sports science department gave them throughout the tournament and particularly in the final. USA and Netherlands were even technically and tactically, but the Americans’ physical advantage helped them cope with the pressure and avoid the mental errors that doomed the Dutch.
The Netherlands competed as long as they could, but the conditions and their own limitations prevented them from adequately responding to USA’s goals. Had star forward Lieke Martens been fully fit and dangerous as she usually is, the game might have unfolded differently.
Meanwhile, USA coach Jill Ellis could rely on substitutes Ali Krieger, Christen Press and Carli Lloyd to enter the game without causing a stark drop in the team’s overall performance.
USA becomes just the second back-to-back Women’s World Cup winner, and the fact the players repeated as champions in the most competitive edition of the tournament marks the squad as the “greatest of all time.”
Furthermore, the U.S. women’s soccer team has forged a legacy that transcends soccer. They came to France hoping to win the World Cup, further gender equality and gain equal pay with their male U.S. Soccer counterparts. While courts will determine the results of those latter quests, the team deserves acclaim for embodying team sports’ highest ideals and inspiring another generation of boys, girls, men and women to dream big and pursue those goals, regardless of whatever odds and criticism they might face.
Player of the game: Megan Rapinoe was relatively muted throughout the game, but her calmness under the highest pressure allowed her to slot home the penalty kick, which proved to be the winning goal.
Rapinoe also won the 2019 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot on that fateful goal.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
Final, 2-0 USA: The referee blows the final whistle. USA wins the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
90th minute, 2-0 USA: There will be five minutes of added time in the second half.
88th minute, 2-0 USA: Carli Lloyd replaces Tobin Heath in USA’s final substitution.
85th minute, 2-0 USA: Tobin Heath tries to win another penalty kick for USA, but the referee rules the contact she made with defenders was incidental and allows play to proceed.
83rd minute, 2-0 USA: Alex Morgan shoots directly at Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal, as USA goes hunting for another goal.
80th minute, 2-0 USA: Netherlands midfielder Sherida Spitse curls a free kick narrowly wide of USA’s goal from 25 yards out. The Dutch are running out of time and chances to win this game.
79th minute, 2-0 USA: Christen Press replaces Megan Rapinoe in USA’s second substitution.
USA fans shower Rapinoe with a thunderous round of applause.
76th minute, 2-0 USA: Crystal Dunn dribbles her way into Netherlands’ penalty area, passes a defender and shoots from point-blank range, but Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal stops her shot cold.
73rd minute, 2-0 USA: The Netherlands makes another substitution. Shanice van de Sanden enters, and Anouk Dekker exits.
71st minute, 2-0 USA: Tobin Heath nearly makes it three for a surging team USA, but Sherida Spitse denies her with a well-timed block inside the Netherlands goal mouth.
70th minute, 2-0 USA: The Netherlands makes its first substitution, with Jill Roord replacing the ineffective Lieke Martens.
69th minute, 2-0 USA: Rose Lavelle doubles the United States’ lead.
She received Samantha Mewis’ pass in the midfield, dribbled forward and launched a powerful, low shot past Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal.
USA soccer legend Landon Donovan approves.
61st minute, 1-0 USA: Megan Rapinoe converts the penalty kick, giving USA the lead.
Rapinoe now joins Morgan and England’s Ellen White among World Cup 2019’s top scorers.
60th minute, 0-0: The referee shows Netherlands defender Stefanie Van Der Gragt a yellow card for her high kick on Morgan.
59th minute, 0-0: USA’s Alex Morgan is inside the Netherlands penalty area as she receives a kick to the shoulder.
The referee reviews the play and awards USA a penalty kick.
54th minute, 0-0: USA defender Becky Sauerbrunn receives treatment after taking a blow to the head.
46th minute, 0-0: The second half is underway.
USA made a substitution at halftime, replacing Kelly O’Hara with fellow right back Ali Krieger.
The substitution is another example why other countries envy USA’s depth.
Halftime, 0-0: That’s the end of the first half. The game is goal-less.
The Netherlands has accomplished what no other team has done to date at this World Cup, namely keeping the U.S. from scoring in the first half. Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal deserves much credit, as she made a string of saves on USA’s best chances.
USA failed to blow away the Netherlands from open play, as the game appears even in technical and tactical terms. The teams also seem to be level mentally as they committed few glaring errors in the period. USA must recover that ruthless strike it demonstrated in France prior to this game and convert one of its few scoring chances into goals.
The heat also will factor heavily into the second half. The temperature was around 87 degrees at kickoff, and the players will struggle to maintain their intensity and concentration amid the stifling heat. USA applied increasing pressure on the dutch as the first half wore on, with the bulk of its scoring chances coming after around 25 minutes.
45th minute, 0-0: There will be two minutes of added time in the first half.
45th minute, 0-0: The heads of Kelley O’Hara and Lieke Martens collide powerfully in the air, leaving both players down on the turf. The trainers are treating them, and it looks like they’ll continue playing.
42nd minute, 0-0: The referee shows USA center back Abby Dahlkemper a yellow card. USA fans protest because the referee declined to punish a tackle on Rose Lavelle seconds earlier.
40th minute, 0-0: USA’s Alex Morgan fires a shot on goal from 20 yards out, but Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal makes another fine save.
38th minute, 0-0: Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal saves Julie Ertz’s header and stops Alex Morgan’s attempt second later.
36th minute, 0-0: USA striker Alex Morgan goes down inside the Netherlands’ penalty area under Dominique Bloodworth’s challenge. USA fans howl for a penalty kick, but the referee decides otherwise.
28th minute, 0-0: Julie Ertz turns and volleys a shot on goal from inside the Netherlands penalty area, but goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal punches it away.
26th minute, 0-0: USA’s quick-thinking goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher races off her goal line and intercepts Vivianne Miedema’s pass to Lineth Beerensteyn before she can receive it atop the penalty area in a one-on-one situation.
20th minute, 0-0: The opening phase of the game has been nervy and tactical with the teams reluctant to commit too many players to the attack.
17th minute, 0-0: Here’s the game’s first goal threat, as Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal pounces on Rose Lavelle’s attempted cross.
13th minute, 0-0: USA scored inside the first 12 minutes in each of its first six games at World Cup 2019, but that unprecedented streak of fast starts now has ended.
10th minute, 0-0: The referee shows Netherlands midfielder Sherida Spitse a yellow card for a rash tackle on USA’s Rose Lavelle.
Fifth minute, 0-0: USA has taken control of the early proceedings, with slight advantages in possession and territory. However, the Netherlands has contained USA’s attack so far and shown its comfort on the ball by breaking the pressure with some slick passing in the midfield.
Kickoff: The USA versus Netherlands World Cup final is underway.
The teams are playing for soccer’s biggest prize.
Some of the world’s biggest names are excited about the contest.
Pregame: Fans roared the national anthems along with the players.
Here are the starting lineups:
USA head coach Jill Ellis answers the most pressing questions about her team with the starting-lineup announcement. Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle have recovered from hamstring problems they suffered last week prior to and during the semifinal win over England, respectively, and will start in the final.
Netherlands forward Lieke Martens will start in the big game. The 2017 FIFA world player of the year missed the semifinal win over Sweden due to a nagging toe injury.
10:30 a.m. ET: Will the United States women’s soccer team seize the opportunity of a lifetime?
Team USA will face the Netherlands on Sunday at Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France, in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final. The game pits the reigning world champion, top-ranked USA, against the Netherlands, FIFA’s eighth-ranked team and current ruler of European soccer.
USA has reached this point by steamrolling Thailand, Chile and Sweden en route to first place in Group F. USA then edged Spain, France and England in hard-fought games in the Round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Now in its third consecutive World Cup final, USA is vying to become just the second back-to-back winner, cementing itself as the greatest women’s team of all time and ultimately transcend soccer by representing ideas — social progress and gender equality — that are much larger than sports normally portray.
The Netherlands has reached the final just its second-ever World Cup appearance. The Dutch side fended off New Zealand, Cameroon and Canada to top Group E before beating Japan, Italy and Sweden in the knockout stages.
Western European countries demonstrated their fast-growing prowess at World Cup 2019, and the Dutch look to prove the region has completed its great leap forward by knocking USA off the sport’s summit.
Stay right here for all the action from Stade de Lyon. We’ll bring you the score, highlights and analysis as the 2019 Women’s World Cup final unfolds.
Thumbnail photo via Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports Images