The United States Women’s National Team retained the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time after a 2-0 win over a resolute Netherlands in Lyon.
The first shot on goal didn’t come until the 27th minute when a volley from midfielder Julie Ertz was parried away by the Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal.
Alex Morgan and Sam Mewis came close to breaking the deadlock late in the first half, but Van Veenendaal made several superb saves to keep the sides level.
The USWNT were awarded a penalty on the hour-mark after a VAR review showed that Morgan was clipped by Stefanie van der Gragt, who was booked for the foul. Megan Rapinoe then stepped up and converted from the spot.
Rose Lavelle doubled the USWNT’s lead less than 10 minutes later after a fine individual run wasn’t closed down by the Dutch defence before she drove the ball past Van Veenendaal with a powerful finish.
Netherlands made drastic changes to their formation, but it would lead to more chances for their opponents, only for Van Veenendaal to cement her spot as the standout performer by making key saves when required.
In the end, the latter stages of the game were comfortable for the USWNT as they won the trophy for the fourth time, but Netherlands will hold their heads high after reaching their first ever World Cup final.
Here are the player ratings for both teams:
Alyssa Naeher - 6
Wasn’t tested for the majority of the game. However, she maintained her focus on the rare occasions that her opponents created an opening.
Kelley O'Hara - 6
Linked up well with Heath down the right-hand side. She was unfortunately subbed off at half-time because of an injury.
Abby Dahlkemper - 5
Could not cope with the pace of Beerensteyn. This resulted in her being booked in the first half, but she was able to keep her discipline from then on.
Becky Sauerbrunn - 5
Made a number of mistakes in possession. She was somewhat lucky that they were not capitalised upon by the Netherlands attackers.
Crystal Dunn - 8
She showed exactly why she used to play further forward with her pace and vision. Dunn played some brilliant passes, and the Dutch right-hand side could not handle her.
Rose Lavelle - 7
She scored the second with a superb individual run and finish. Her goal spectacularly capped off a fine tournament.
Julie Ertz - 7
Controlled the midfield throughout. Ertz also almost grabbed a goal herself with the first major chance of the game.
Sam Mewis - 6
Came close to scoring in the first half. She turned in a reasonable display in the very heart of the USWNT midfield.
Tobin Heath - 7
Was a constant threat down the right-hand side. She linked up well with O’Hara and Lavelle in particular, and she perfectly exploited the Dutch left-back playing out of position.
Megan Rapinoe (C) - 6
Scored the crucial penalty but wasn’t as effective going forward as she’d have liked. This was largely caused by the solid Dutch performance at the back.
Alex Morgan - 7
Created a few chances late in the first half. She did well to get to the ball first and win the penalty for her side.
SUB: Ali Krieger - 6
Came on at half-time and linked up well with Heath down the right-hand side. She was composed in possession.
SUB: Christen Press - 6
Didn’t really have enough time to make much of an impact in a game. By this point, it was already done and dusted.
SUB: Carly Lloyd - 6
Also didn’t have enough time to make an impact on the game. She was energetic and hoped to get on the ball when she could, however.
Sari van Veenendaal (C) - 8
Made a number of superb saves that prevented the scoreline from getting embarrassing for the Dutch. Arguably the outstanding player in the match.
Desiree van Lunteren - 6
Made too many mistakes in the second half. She was caught out of position too often as she tried to push forward and mount a comeback.
Anouk Dekker - 6
Was solid in the first half. However, she started to make some mistakes as the game went on before being substituted.
Stefanie van der Gragt - 7
Despite conceding the penalty, she dealt with the constant threat of the USA front-three very well. Van der Gragt made a number of vital clearances and blocks.
Dominique Bloodworth - 5
Played at left-back, an unfamiliar role for her, and it showed. She struggled to cope with Heath throughout the game.
Jackie Groenen - 7
Matched up well to Mewis and Ertz in midfield. But, unfortunately, she didn’t have the same level of support to sustain it for the entire game.
Danielle van de Donk - 6
Played more of a defensive role, especially in the first half. She was surprisingly disappointing in the final third when pushed further forward late on.
Sherida Spitse - 6
Looked threatening in dead-ball situations in the first half. Ass the game went on, though, she did very little to impact proceedings.
Lieke Martens - 5
Struggled to really make any sort of impact on the game. She was subbed off early in the second half, and understandably so.
Vivianne Miedema - 6
Had little glimpses that she was going to add to her impressive goal-scoring tally when in possession. When called upon, though, she seemed to have left her shooting boots at home.
Lineth Beerensteyn - 7
Her pace and strength were a real handful for the USWNT defenders. She continued to be the one player who looked likely to score for the Dutch despite their lack of clear openings.
SUB: Jill Roord - 5
Was brought on to try and mount a comeback. However, she didn’t have as much of an effect as she would’ve liked.
SUB: Shanice van de Sanden - 5
Did nothing of note as the Dutch attempted to mount the most impossible of comebacks. A generally ineffective substitution.