For an hour in Lyon, the Netherlands threatened a grand upset in #LaGrandeFinale, but USA cruised into their irresistible extra gear to win 2-0 and lift the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ for the fourth time.
Sari van Veenendaal was magnificent for the Oranjeleeuwinnen, whose counter-attacks, usually involving Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema, sporadically unsettled the American backline. But when Alex Morgan won a penalty, Megan Rapinoe coolly dispatched it in the 61st minute and the USWNT were on another level thereafter. Rose Lavelle swiftly scored a sumptuous second.
Rapinoe went off to a standing ovation towards the end. The Netherlands players deserved one too for giving this almighty machine a much sterner challenge than many expected.
The USWNT came into this tournament with one goal and one goal only: to lift the trophy. They were faced with adversity throughout the tournament but ignored the outside noise, focused on the task at hand and got the job done. An impressive performance against the Netherlands, played fiercely by both teams, was ultimately taken over by the gritty Americans, when a foul from Stefanie van der Gragt led to a penalty that Megan Rapinoe buried. Rose Lavelle then gave the US the insurance goal on a brilliant, driven shot to make it 2-0. Jill Ellis and her squad will leave France as world champions and they will be able to add a fourth star to the US crest.
An unforgettable journey for the Netherlands has come to an end with defeat to USA, who win their fourth title. The Oranjeleeuwinnen have put in a historic performance at this Women's World Cup, and it will be one that impacts generations to come back home.