Soccer: U.S. wins Women’s World Cup with 2-0 victory over The Netherlands

658

The United States won the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday in Lyon, France.

It is the fourth World Cup for the U.S. Women’s National Team and the first time a team has successfully defended its title.

After a scoreless first half, Megan Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick in the 61st minute.  Eight minutes later, Rose Lavelle scored.

Rapinoe won the Golden Boot as the event’s top scorer and the Golden Ball as its top player. Alex Morgan was awarded the Silver Boot.

“It’s surreal,” Rapinoe told the media after the game. “I don’t know how to feel like now. It’s ridiculous. We’re crazy and that’s what makes us so special. We just have no quit in us. We’re so tight, and we’ll do anything to win.”

Rapinoe’s goal came after officials concluded in a video review that Stefanie Van der Gratt’s raised right foot hit Morgan in the upper right arm in the penalty area, causing Morgan to fall.

In the  postgame press conference, U.S. coach Jill Ellis said her assistant coaches in the press box told her it was a penalty.

“They were pretty convinced it was a penalty kick,” she said. “Overall, I tthink we had the better of the game. The Netherlands made it incredibly hard for us. They got numbers behind the ball, looked to transition, incredibly disciplined, a strong team good at defending the box. They presented a lot of challenges.”

The U.S. outshot The Netherlands 17-5.

“I said to the players at halftime I think at some point it’s going to break and it’s going to break our way whether that’s through a penalty kick or whether that’s a set piece or whether that’s open play transition. I just felt we would have our opportunity,” Ellis said.

The U.S. outscored its opponents 26-3 in three pool and four knockout games.

Ellis said the run to the title was more challenging than in 2014.

“I think the level overall around the world is growing exponentially so I think four years on, yeah, this was incredibly difficult because the opponent is better and I think the teams we have to come through were some of the best teams in the world,” she said. “So I think in terms of the path and the level this was pretty challenging.

“I’m just incredibly proud of these players. I’d just like to take a moment and congratulate the Netherlands on a fantastic tournament. That’s a world-class team. They’re European champions. They’ve got so much depth.  They gave us a heckuva game tonight. I just think for our players and the staff. I just want to thank everybody for what they’ve done to get us to this point.”

The U.S. redeemed itself for failing to win the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.

In her press conference, the 34-year-old Rapinoe, playing in her third straight World Cup, said the team leaned on its experienced players throughout the tournament.

“We had some incredibly tough games to play, games where we didn’t play well,” she said. “Points in different games where it was very difficult. A lot of media attention. A lot of pressure. Extremely difficult teams that we had to play.

“Our run through the tournament was very difficult. So for us older players especially to be able to carry a lot of that load and just set the example for the younger players is a huge reason why we’ve been so successful.”

Parkway girls soccer coach Shelley McMillian was at the stadium in Lyon and broadcast a few minutes of the game live on her Facebook page.