All eyes were on the Women’s World Cup Final in Lyon this weekend, with the heavily fancied defending champions USA taking on a Netherlands side who have been very impressive throughout the tournament.
The USA, defending champions and looking to lift the trophy for a record fourth time, managed to edge out their opponents after two goals in an eight-minute spell saw them walk away 2-0 winners.
VAR Strikes Again
The first goal came courtesy of VAR, which has provided many talking points throughout the tournament. Stefanie van der Gragt was penalised for a high boot on Alex Morgan, and after studying replays, French ref Stephanie Frappart handed USA the chance to take the lead from the spot. Megan Rapinoe stepped up to calmly slot home. The USA had the lead and were immediately looking to build on it.
Game, Set & Match
The USA and their supporters didn’t have to wait long for the second goal which effectively killed off the tie too, when Rose Ravelle completed a fine run with a tidy finish. The USA scored in the 61st and 69th minutes, and when the second goal went in, the Netherlands were pretty much done for.
Rapinoe Scores Two Awards
Rapinoe’s goal proved to be important on a personal level too, with it meaning she would go on to lift the Golden Boot. With six goals and three assists to her name, Rapinoe sat atop of the scoring charts after the 2-0 victory over the Netherlands, but the personal accolades weren’t over there, with Rapinoe also being awarded the Golden Ball award for being the best player at the tournament.
Speaking following her side’s victory, Megan Rapinoe, USA co-captain, said, “It’s unbelievable just to know all of the people in our group have put in so much work. We have all our friends and family here, it is surreal.”
History In The Making
The USA’s English manager, Jill Ellis, is now the first coach in history to lift the trophy on more than one occasion. Her team successfully defended their status as World Champions by being comfortably the most impressive team out of the 24 to take part. After triumphing against Thailand 13-0 in their opening game, which is the highest ever score recorded at a World Cup, they went from strength to strength, and at times looked unstoppable.
Ellis And Her Players
Jill Ellis was delighted with the achievements made by her team, “This is an amazing group of players, they showed fantastic resilience. They put their hearts and souls into this journey, I cannot thank them enough. I could barely speak immediately after the game, but I told them they had made history and to enjoy it.”
England Miss Out On Third Place
It was a poor end to the tournament for England on Saturday however, as they lost 2-1 to Sweden in the third-place playoffs. Sweden had gone two goals ahead before Fran Kirby halved the deficit, but the Lionesses sloppy start cost them and they went home empty handed and disappointed.