Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle were both on target as the United States were crowned world champions Sunday after beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup final.
The holders enjoyed the better of the first half but could not find a way past Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who produced a string of good saves to deny Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan the opening goal.
The United States continued their dominance after the break and finally made the breakthrough from the penalty spot after Stefanie van der Gragt was penalised for a foul on Morgan.
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Rapinoe made no mistake with her spot-kick, slotting the ball down the middle to put the Stars and Stripes ahead with half an hour left to play.
The win was wrapped up by Lavelle eight minutes later. The midfielder strode forward and fired a low shot past Van Veenendaal to secure a fourth world title for the United States.
Rapinoe was back in the starting XI for the holders in place of Christen Press, while Jill Ellis opted to leave midfielder Lindsey Horan on the bench and start Sam Mewis.
The Netherlands made just one change with Anouk Dekker replacing Merel van Dongen in defence, with Barcelona’s Lieke Martens fit to start after concerns over a toe injury:
The United States were the dominant team in the first half but found Van Veenendaal continuing the fine form she has already demonstrated in the tournament.
Gracenote Live noted how the United States could not find an early goal for the first time at the World Cup:
Gracenote Live @GracenoteLive
❌ – 35′ 0-0: USA have scored in the first 12 minutes of all their World Cup matches in 2019, except the final. #FIFAWWC
Van Veenendaal parried a powerful effort from Ertz just before the half-hour mark and followed that up by denying the midfielder again and Morgan after good work from Rapinoe.
BBC Sport highlighted the holders’ dominance:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
The Netherlands haven’t had much luck in the #USA penalty area so far.
And at the other end Sari van Veenendaal has just pulled off a fantastic double save to thwart the USA.
Seven minutes to the break – #USA 0-0 #NED
Live ➡ https://t.co/8LE2Ga9kZK #USAvNED https://t.co/Z1m8YCNvzh
The holders ramped up the pressure as half-time approached, and Van Veenendaal was called into action yet again to deny Morgan’s fierce effort from 20 yards.
The Netherlands created a few flickers of danger at the other end but failed to seriously trouble Alyssa Naeher in the United States goal.
Ellis’ side continued to dominate after the break, and their pressure eventually told. Morgan went down under pressure from Van der Gragt, and the penalty was awarded for a high boot after a VAR check:
Rapinoe coolly slotted home from the spot to join Morgan and Ellen White as the tournament’s top scorers with six goals.
The win was wrapped up eight minutes later when Lavelle added a fine second. The midfielder drove toward goal, jinked to her left on the edge of the box and then fired a low strike across Van Veenendaal and into the corner:
Rory Smith @RorySmith
Glad that Rose Lavelle’s scored the goal that settles it. I won’t pretend to be an expert but, in my humble opinion, she’s the most gifted player I’ve seen at this tournament. I feel very sorry for the Dutch, though, who have played *extremely* well.
The Stars and Stripes had opportunities to extend their lead further in the closing stages but Tobin Heath, substitute Press and Morgan were guilty of wasting chances against a tiring Netherlands team.
It is a deserved victory for the United States, who have looked a cut above throughout the tournament and have cemented their status as the world’s best in France.
The Netherlands return to action in August with a UEFA Women’s Championship qualifier against Estonia. The United States are yet to announce their next fixtures.