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USA beat Netherlands 2-0 to win 2019 Women's World Cup

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A sellout crowd of 57,900 fans that thundered "USA" chants throughout the game turned up at Stade de Lyon to witness the U.S. Women's National Team claim its record fourth FIFA Women's World Cup title with a 2-0 triumph over 2017 UEFA Women's Euro champions the Netherlands.

Megan Rapinoe, who was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player and the Golden Boot as its top scorer with six goals and three assists in 428 minutes played, opened the scoring for the USA in the second half from the penalty spot. Rose Lavelle, who was awarded the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player, scored the USA's second goal of the Final as the USWNT wrote another amazing chapter in the women's soccer history books as the highest scoring team in Women's World Cup history with 26 goals scored. The victory makes the USA only the second nation to successfully defend a World Cup crown.

U.S. head coach Jill Ellis, who is now only four wins short of becoming the winningest coach in USWNT history, made two changes to the USA's starting XI from the semifinal, returning Rapinoe to the forward line alongside Silver Boot winner Alex Morgan (six goals, three assists in 490 minutes played) and offensive dynamo Tobin Heath, and inserting Samantha Mewis into midfield alongside defensive stalwart Julie Ertz and the all-around brilliant Lavelle.

The U.S. was methodical in its approach to the game, attacking the flanks of the Dutch defense early and often in an effort to spread the field and create chances for its plethora of attacking talents. Despite dominating 60 percent of possession in the first half, the U.S. initially had some difficulty with a packed-in Netherlands squad that played a four back with three midfielders sitting deep as neither team recorded a shot on goal in the first 20 minutes.

As the half wore on, the USA found set pieces as a productive avenue for generating shots on goal, ultimately ending the half with four on target that forced Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal to make as many saves in the opening half as she'd had to make in the entirety of any previous match in the tournament.

Veenendaal, who was awarded the Golden Glove as the tournament's best 'keeper, showed why she had been given that distinction beginning in the 27 th minute when she batted away a blistering volley from Ertz. In the 27th minute, she then blocked a point-blank header from Mewis with her body before recovering to claw a Morgan redirection back into her arms as it rolled toward the goal line moments later. Veenendaal brilliantly denied Morgan a second time in the 40th minute when the U.S. forward curled a left-footed drive toward the bottom right corner.

After being held without a touch in the USA penalty area for nearly the entire opening 45 minutes, the Dutch conjured a late flurry of offense but was unable to truly trouble Alyssa Naeher in the U.S. goal as the USWNT defense cleared away three Netherlands crosses into the box.

At halftime, veteran defender Ali Krieger entered the game for right back Kelley O'Hara who was withdrawn after suffering a knock in the final moments of the first half.

Krieger proved an assured deputy as the U.S. continued its dominance in the second half, finally finding the crucial breakthrough near the hour mark. A long ball over the Netherlands defense for Morgan resulted in Stefanie van der Gragt missing an attempt to clear the ball and instead kicking Morgan in the midsection with a high boot. French referee Stephanie Frappart consulted a replay after the Video Assistant Referee contacted her and duly awarded the U.S. a penalty kick.

After Veenendaal made the first move, Rapinoe sent the spot kick into the lower right side of the goal to give the USA the 1-0 lead and become the oldest player (34 years and two days) to score in a World Cup final, breaking Carli Lloyd's record set in the 2015 edition of the tournament.

Eight minutes later Lavelle gave the USA much-deserved breathing room with a fantastic strike into the lower right corner after carrying the ball from midfield to the edge of the Netherlands penalty area.

The 2-0 score line in favor of the U.S. forced the Netherlands forward, which opened up the game with the USA almost scoring several more goals on the counter-attack as Heath, Morgan and Dunn all drew impressive stops from Veenendaal over the final 20 minutes.

Naeher and the U.S. defense did their part at the other end, limiting the Netherlands to four second half shots, only one of which was on goal.


USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O'Hara (11-Ali Krieger, 46), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Crystal Dunn; 16-Rose Lavelle, 8-Julie Ertz, 3-Samantha Mewis; 17-Tobin Heath (10-Carli Lloyd, 87), 15-Megan Rapinoe (capt.) (23-Christen Press, 79), 13-Alex Morgan

Substitutes not used: 18-Ashlyn Harris, 21-Adrianna Franch, 2-Mallory Pugh, 6-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan, 12-Tierna Davidson, 14-Emily Sonnett, 18-Allie Long, 20-Allie Long, 22-Jessica McDonald

Head Coach: Jill Ellis

NED: 1-Sar Van Veendendaal (capt.); 2-Desiree Van Lunteren, 3-Stefanie Van Der Gragt, 20-Dominique Bloodworth, 6-Anouk Dekker (7-Victoria Pelova, 73); 14-Jackie Groenen, 8-Sherida Spitse, 10-Danielle Van De Donk; 21-Lineth Beerensteyn, 9-Vivianne Miedema, 11-Lieke Martens (19-Jill Roord, 71)

Substitutes not used: 4-Merel Van Dongen, 5-Kika Van Es, 13-Renate Jansen, 15-Inessa Kaagman, 16-Lize Kop, 17-Ellen Jansen, 18-Danique Kerkdijk, 22-Liza Van Der Most, 23-Loes Geurts

Head Coach: Sarina Wiegman

Final Score: USA 2-0 Netherlands (Rapinoe 61', Lavelle 69')