USWNT Repeat as Women's World Cup Champions
The U.S. Women’s National Team won their second-straight Women’s World Cup title on Sunday, their fourth overall, taking down the European champion Netherlands 2-0 in Lyon.
With the win, the USWNT become just the second team to repeat as Women’s World Cup champions since the tournament began in 1991. Germany was the first to win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007. The USWNT also become the first team to four World Cup titles, extending the gap between them and Germany, who are still stuck on two.
After a scoreless first half, Megan Rapinoe put the USWNT in the lead in the 61st minute, capitalizing on a penalty kick to put the Americans up 1-0, marking the first time that the Netherlands trailed all tournament.
The goal made Rapinoe, 34, the oldest player, to score in a Women’s World Cup Final.
The USWNT doubled their lead just eight minutes later when Rose Lavelle made the run and hit the shot of her life, scoring low at the near post off of a counter started off of a tackle by Crystal Dunn to put the USWNT up 2-0.
The Netherlands put up quite the fight, and nearly pulled one back several times late in the second half. Lineth Beernsteyn had her shot on target saved by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher just after Lavelle’s goal, and the Dutch just missed a free-kick wide of the post shortly after that.
Naeher earned her fourth clean sheet of the tournament with the shutout on Sunday.
The Americans’ run, especially in the knockout stages, is nothing short of impressive. They defeated one top European team after another en route to their fourth World Cup trophy. They took down a top up-and-coming program in Spain in the Round of 16, then the host nation France in the quarterfinals before a scrappy battle against England in the semifinal to reach the Final.
They took down a Netherlands team on Sunday in the Final that went on an undefeated run to win the 2017 European championship that has continued to rise through the ranks.
This USWNT goes down as one of the greatest teams in women’s soccer history with the win. They outscored opponents 26-3, shutting out all of their opponents in the group stages, along with a record-setting 13-0 win over Thailand in the opening match.
Their 2-0 win on Sunday is also their second shutout in a Women’s World Cup Final – they took China to penalty kicks 0-0 in that infamous 1999 Final at the Rose Bowl.
Rapinoe took home the Golden Boot (top goal-scorer) and the Golden Ball (top player) awards while Lavelle took home the Bronze Ball.
USWNT head coach Jill Ellis became just the second soccer coach in World Cup history, men’s or women’s to win consecutive titles. The first was Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo back in the 1930s. She has yet to lose a match as the head coach of the USWNT in a Women’s World Cup.