USWNT / Women's World Cup

Match report: USA 2-0 Netherlands

Photo Credit: FIFA.com

A team that accomplished more than anyone thought in this tournament, the USWNT beat the Netherlands, 2-0, to win the World Cup. Four time winners, back-to-back champions, this USA team defied expectations and are leaving France with four stars and a trophy.

Both the USA and the Netherlands started the match full throttle. But neither side had any big chances in the first half hour of the match as both teams had some physical battles for control in the midfield.

A higher back line was set by the red, white, and blue, forcing Alyssa Naeher to play a bit of the sweeper-keeper role. Naeher had to come off of her line to stop Lineth Beerensteyn’s speedy breakway run, where she easily outpaced the USA’s central defenders but was beaten by Naeher. The US defenders played a bit more more direct, trying to send long balls up to the forwards instead of controlling possession through the midfield in the first half.

With their speed, the Dutch side was relying on their counterattacks to move the ball up the field and exploit the USA’s weaker defense. However, the Netherlands had a lot of trouble clearing the ball off of set pieces and in the midst of defensive scrambles. Megan Rapinoe had a few corner kicks in the first half, but her best was in the 27th minute that led to a big scramble in the Dutch box, allowing the USA to get two shots on goal.

USA continued to pepper the Netherlands’ goal, especially in the 38th minute where they really put the pressure on the Dutch defense and goalkeeper. A shot from Alex Morgan and a cross from Rapinoe forced Sari Van Veenendaal to make quick saves on the near post and practically on the goal line. One minute later, Morgan ripped a shot just outside the box that forced Van Veenendaal to make a diving save to the near post. But neither side was able to score and the first half ended tied, nil-nil.

The US made a change at the start of the second half, bringing on Ali Kreiger for Kelley O’Hara, who was struggling a bit from an injury at the end of the first half. Besides that one change, Jill Ellis had her team keep the same formation and style in the second half, still trying for a goal.

The first goal game just at the hour mark. A penalty kick was awarded to the US in the 60th minute after a high kick by Stefanie Van Der Gragt on Morgan in the box that was reviewed by VAR after no initial call by the referee. Rapinoe took the kick and passed it right into the back of the net, giving Van Veenendaal no indication where she was going and no chance to save it. With that goal, the US broke the Netherlands’ 317 minute no-goals-allowed streak.

The Netherlands responded with some desperation. Vivianne Miedema was able to easily take the ball into the USA’s box, past two defenders, before Julie Ertz was able to clear the ball. The Dutch were able to dismantle the US back line too easily as it seemed like the red, white and blue were content to sit back and park the bus. Ertz dropped back to another central defender, giving the US five defenders in their tight back line.

Rose Lavelle brought the US up to 2-0 after weaving around Dutch defenders in the center of the field and taking a beautiful shot with her left foot into the back post. It broke a record, with 26 goals scored in this tournament, the USA set a new record for goals in the women’s World Cup.

The remaining minutes of the match was full of back and forth, with the US sitting comfortably on their lead, but no longer allowing the Netherlands to come attack their net. Neither side had any great chances and the USA kept pushing forward, maintainin possession and breaking up any chances for the Dutch side.

Then the final whistle blew and the USA won their fourth World Cup and became back-to-back champions.

Three points

Back to back world champions. Germany was the only team to win back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007. Now the USA can be added to that list winning four tournaments in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019. The USA have also become the only team to win four World Cups.

Megan Rapinoe. She became the oldest player to score a goal in the women’s World Cup final at age 34 with her penalty kick today. She won the Golden Boot with six goals in five matches. She won the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament. She co-captained this team throughout the tournament to hoist the World Cup.

No early goals. The Dutch were the first team in this tournament to not allow the US a goal in the first 15 minutes of the match. In fact, the Netherlands didn’t allow a goal for the first hour of the match, the longest the US have taken in scoring a goal this tournament.

Lineups

USA

Alyssa Naeher; Kelley O’Hara (Ali Kreiger 46′), Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn; Sam Mewis, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle; Tobin Heath (Carli Lloyd 87′), Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe (c) (Christen Press 79′)

Unused substitutes: Morgan Brian, Mallory Pugh, Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, Ashlyn Harris, Allie Long, Adrianna Franch, Jessica McDonald

The Netherlands

Sari Van Veenendaal; Domimique Bloodworth, Stefanie Van Der Gragt, Anouk Dekker (Shanice Van De Sanden 73′), Desiree Van Lunteren; Sherida Spitse, Danielle Van De Donk, Jackie Groenen; Lieke Martens (Jill Roord 70′), Vivianne Miedema, Lineth Beerensteyn

Unused substitutes: Merel Van Dongen, Kika Van Es, Victoria Pelova, Renate Jansen, Inessa Kaagman, Lize Kop, Ellen Jansen, Danique Kerkdijk, Liza Van Der Most, Loes Geurts

Goals

USA: Megan Rapinoe (penalty kick) – 61′

USA: Rose Lavelle – 69′

Cards

NED: Sherida Spitse – yellow – 10′

USA: Abby Dahlkemper – yellow – 42′

NED: Stefanie Van Der Gragt – yellow – 60′

5 Comments

  1. Congrats to USA!!! Well played tourney. Not a great final but consider it mission accomplished for sure. Wait a minute…”neither side had any great chances” in the end. Are you kidding me? The US blew numerous chances to make it 3,4,5-0 only because the Dutch were pulling up higher and higher.

  2. Was a cautious match early and then the gates opened. While Carli Lloyd almost singlehandedly destroying last Final was epic, I enjoyed this team’s effort. Fantastic.
    Sari van Veenendaal Deserved keeper. She was solid and human against Lavelle.

    Sara FYI – Typos: “The Netherlands” widow before the lineups and you’ve left in “England” in the lineup instead of replacing with Netherlands.

  3. Way to go girls! Lets do it again in 4 years!

    I only watched the final three US games, but Rapinoe was by no way the best player in either of the games that she played in.
    I also don’t get bringing in Carli Lloyd as often as they did. Was it just a respect thing? Theremust’ve been players better suited to closing out a game than an aging attacking player

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Lloyd isn’t just an attacking player. She started her career as a defensive midfielder and then started moving forward. So she makes a good sub for a forward when your ahead knowing that she’ll play more defense but can also change to a more forward position if you don’t hold onto the lead.
      .
      Plus, she’s pretty much as big game a player as ever existed. I’m pretty sure you can count the number of players who scored two Olympic gold medal winning goals on one finger. It takes two fingers to count the number of players who’ve scored a hat trick in a World Cup final. Carli occupies two of those three fingers. (Geoff Hurst is the other one). So it’s hard to criticize Ellis for having confidence in her.

  4. Jill Ellis’ contract up end of the month. If she sticks around then expect the new guard to transition in over the next two years and youth to reign in 4 years. Lavelle, Press and a handful of others will be the veteran driving force. If Ellis leaves, it could be awkward like the transition from Pia to Sermanni to Ellis.

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