The United States has secured its fourth Women’s World Cup title, beating the Netherlands 2-0.
The US are (still) world champions, beating out the Netherlands in a physical battle in Lyon. For all that the pre-tournament (and in-tournament) talk was about this World Cup being a changing point for women’s football, we’ve had 32 days and still ended up with the US winning.
Call them arrogant, if you want. Call them ‘the Bayern Munich of women’s football’. Call their celebrations “distasteful” too. Sorry, but the United States will not care, because whatever your opinion of them, you must also call them world champions. ( The independent)
Sunday’s World Cup win was the fourth for the USWNT, following FIFA titles in 1991, 1999, and 2015. The U.S. final opponents were certainly underdogs in the game, as it was the first time the Dutch have made it to the Women’s World Cup finals.
However, after major wins over Sweden, Canada, and Japan, the final game was projected to be a must-watch match-up.
The more things change…
It feels – and maybe it’s better this way – like this summer was just another step in changes already being made, and changes which we haven’t seen come to fruition yet.
We’ve left the World Cup with the US as champions. We’ve had an upward spike in the quality of goalkeeping, and a huge one, but the team with a notably dodgy keeper were the team who won.
Europe showed itself as the true powerhouse in depth, with seven of the eight quarter-finalists, and left without the trophy. Also, Megan Rapinoe is still really really really good.
Sunday, then. A full house in Lyon for the main event, swathes of Dutch fans in orange, ‘U-S-A U-S-A’ chants ringing around the stadium (and the areas around it) for hours before kickoff. For the first time in the tournament, the US left the first quarter of an hour goalless. And the first half an hour. And the first half too – frustrated by a tight Dutch defence and a couple of moments of sheer brilliance from Sari van Veenendaal in the Netherlands goal.
There were two inevitabilities coming into the game. Rapinoe would be decisive, and VAR would get an outing. The narrative, as they say, demanded it. And narrative will not be denied.
It was on the hour mark that Alex Morgan took a boot more or less flush in the chest (think ‘kicking through, top of the boot’ not ‘De Jong’) and referee Stéphanie Frappart signalled…for a corner. Then she waited. The tell-tale hesitation, the hand to the ear, the motioned rectangle, the jog to the screen. VAR will not be denied.
Up against Van Veenendaal, the tournament’s best goalkeeper, Rapinoe stepped up. Out of the semi-final with a hamstring injury and looking a little tight against a physical Dutch side, she waited. And waited. And stepped up, with 57,900 people in the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, to leave Van Veenendaal rooted to her line and stroke home, calm as anything.
Megan Rapinoe. VAR. Narrative. Unstoppable.
The USWNT might have been a touch fortunate in their earlier knockout games, but there was no element of luck about it when it mattered. They were better, they were faster, they were stronger. They were undeniable.
A lot can change in 32 days. Perceptions can change, controversies can rise, fall, and rise again. You can be invited and uninvited from the White House. But not everything can change at once. The US were, are, have been, will be, supreme.
The 2019 Women’s World Cup has been brilliant. The games have been enthralling, the performances of some players on a whole new level. The overwhelming sense was always that this would happen, though. That the US are the best, still. Celebrate the tournament, but more than that – gear up for 2023, because it might be the best World Cup ever.
How can you do it? Watch women’s football. Go to the games, support a team, do things as simple as following the beat writers for the women’s game on Twitter. The tickets are cheap, the atmosphere is great, and the funding – the thing that’s changed the game, truly, in this last World Cup cycle – doesn’t come unless you do it.
The problem with living through history is that you have to make yourself a part of it. What are you waiting for?
The full list of 2019 FIFA World Cup Award winners:
Golden Boot Award: Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Silver Boot Award: Alex Morgan (USA)
Golden Glove Award: Sari van Veenendaal (NED)
Golden Ball Award: Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Silver Ball Award: Lucy Bronze (ENG)
Bronze Ball Award: Rose Lavelle (USA)
News7 days ago
Ukraine Friendly, A Chance For The New Boys To Prove Their Worth – Rohr
Africa1 day ago
Gernot Rohr Reveals Super Eagles Next Friendlies, Resolves Goalkeeping Crisis
Europe5 days ago
Ballon d’Or : Sergio Ramos Picks Van Dijk Over Messi & Ronaldo
Europe18 hours ago
Victor Osimhen Relishes First Champions League Start
Africa2 days ago
Ansu Fati: Barcelona Record Breaking Lad
La Liga5 days ago
I Don’t Know If Barcelona Did Everything Possible To Ensure Neymar’s return – Messi
Europe22 mins ago
South American Giants Brazil To Face Super Eagles In October